DA calls for transparency and accountability in City Power ‘load reduction’ fiasco

Issued by Cllr Nicole van Dyk – DA Johannesburg Shadow MMC for EIS (Water, Power and Environment)
11 Jun 2024 in Press Statements

City Power recently announced it would implement “load reduction” in the City of Johannesburg, leaving many residents wondering, “why?”

Since the election, winter has arrived with a vengeance, causing temperatures to plummet and increasing the use of heaters and geysers. Most people understand that this leads to higher power consumption, putting additional demand on the network. However, before the end of load-shedding 74 days ago, City Power noted that one of the biggest revenue losses was due to many middle- to upper-income earners, along with some large power users, going off-grid, costing the city much-needed income.

In September 2023, City Power announced that the grid was on the verge of collapse due to intense load-shedding and a lack of maintenance, leaving the city’s network in a precarious state. The city has now been free from load-shedding for 74 days, providing ample time for City Power to initiate a maintenance program on the network. According to City Power, the network had long suffered from the constant cycling of load-shedding combined with the damage caused by in-rush current.

Plants across the city sit idle, and with a 74 day respite from load-shedding and unpredictability, it was possible for them to tend to them, and ensure that it was possible for them to deliver basic services.

Residents are now paying 12.72% more for power in Joburg but are being asked to consume less. The residents of Joburg were asked by Mayor Gwamanda to be resilient – and they have been. However, many felt relief at the possibility of a first winter in years without load-shedding from Eskom, now they are hit by City Power “load reduction”.

The DA calls on the executive of the City of Joburg to be transparent with residents about what day-to-day maintenance has been done to reduce the number of out-of-service substations. Transparency is key to rebuilding trust and ensuring residents understand where their increased payments are going.

We call for immediate action to recover the significant amounts owed by provincial and national government departments to City Power. This money is critical for improving the power infrastructure and should not be neglected.

We will not rest until the residents of Joburg know where they stand, and that their administration is at the very least trying to make life better for them.

The Democratic Alliance is committed to ensuring reliable and efficient service delivery. We will continue to hold the current administration accountable and advocate for the necessary reforms to prevent such failures in the future.