Monday, 11 April 2022 13:42

Joburg municipality plans to adopt a new model to help city power cut costs.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Johannesburg's City Power says it will beef up its teams and resources as the city faces widespread electricity outages.

The power utility said it had received nearly 2,000 outage calls from customers by early Monday morning (11 April) after a weekend of stormy weather. Hursthill depot accounted for most of the issues, followed by Lenasia and Roodepoort.

Specific issues have been reported in:

  • Alexandra
  • Bellevue
  • Bezuidenhout
  • Eldorado Park
  • Freedom Park
  • Houghton
  • Klipfontein
  • Lenasia
  • Lindhaven
  • Paarlshoop
  • Riverlea
  • Vlakfontein
  • Witpoortjie

"Most of the outages are due to the overloading of the network due to the high demand of electricity because of the rainy cold weather. Other factors contributing to the increase in outages include cable fault, equipment failure and cable theft."

With persistent rain and inclement weather, most of the repair work was disrupted over the weekend, leaving most outages unresolved, City Power said. The utility said it is now deploying more resources, technicians and operators to the problematic areas to deal with the backlogs.

New model 

The City of Johannesburg recently announced plans to adopt a new model for City Power which it said will allow the utility to cut costs in its dealings with contractors.

"We appreciate and recognise the good work and support that City Power has received from its contractors, many of whom work tirelessly to restore power outages. Regrettably, as with any service delivery, it is important to measure the success and the quality of the work and service provided, which the City has since established has been more costly and not sustainable, "said the city's Michael Sun.

"A decision has therefore been taken to discontinue the payment of call-out fees," he said.

A call-out fee is a charge paid to contractors to assess the problem and advise City Power regarding the repairs that are required.

"In line with our goal to run City Power in an efficient and profitable manner, management has assessed the "call-out fee" expenditure levied by the contractors and found it to be unsustainable and not supported in the turn-around of City Power," Sun said.

"This change will see work dispatched to City Power's internal resources directly by the Dispatch Centre. Depot Team Leaders will monitor the total amount of work versus the available resources, and from there decide and issue work to contractors if it is required – depending on the workload. In this way, we will be able to ensure a sustained and balanced approach to work allocation and cost-effectiveness."

Cable theft 

Criminals are becoming increasingly violent when stealing cables in Johannesburg, putting lives at risk and compounding the country’s economic woes.

Johannesburg mayor Mpho Phalatse has pleaded with the South African Police Service to help tackle sophisticated and well-armed gangs who target the city’s electricity infrastructure.

It comes at a time when two security guards were killed in recent weeks by alleged cable thieves, heavily armed with AK-47s. "The increasing use of violence by the thieves is an ominous development," the paper said.

It reported that the City of Joburg alone spends about R100 million annually to prevent cable theft. Over the past five years, the council has lost R187 million due to cable theft and vandalism.