Lekwa Municipality answers 7 burning questions about electricity

In light of the recent power interruptions the Standerton Advertiser spoke to Lekwa Municipality’s communications manager, Ms Thobheka Mtshiselwa.

• With the substation not able to carry the load effectively, has the municipality considered expanding/upgrading?
Yes, the estimated amount required to upgrade the whole system is more than R100-mil, which for now we do not have because of the low payment rate.

• What will the costs of such a venture be and is the municipality financially able to cover it?
More than R100-mil, no.

• To what do the municipality ascribe the high constraints?
It is the old infrastructure with a low budget for repairs and the continued demand for new connections and upgrades of current customer needs.

• People are also concerned over maintenance of the substation(s) that might be the cause, can you please assist in explaining how often maintenance is carried out?
The norm in local government is that 8% of the operational budget must be allocated to maintenance, but for years, the municipality did not provide for this. In the past two years the municipality has only been able to budget 5%. We need people to pay for services so that maintenance can be done properly.

• Load shedding is a term most residents dread, but how will the municipality implement load shedding if the electrical usage is not lowered?
The zones will be load-shedded for an hour to an hour and a half. Areas might also be paired such as Meyerville/town/Kosmospark/Rooikoppen/Phalama/Simendedni/farmlines etc.

• Most importantly is internal load shedding legal?
Yes. We can only provide what we have.

• What are the legalities when a municipality decides to implement its own load shedding?
This is not by choice, if we allow the system to switch itself off, we are likely to damage it further. We will strive to keep the impact as low as possible. We will protect strategic institutions.

• Also will residents be informed prior to the implementation of load shedding and will there be schedules?
We will communicate as much as we can. We ask the community to reduce the use of electricity so that there is no need for load shedding.

Wayne van der Walt

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