MLM sheds light on municipal load shedding

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GK CRONJE

7 July 2020

“The Executive Mayor of MLM has been on Community radio stations several time explaining load reductions, and it also forms part of State of Municipal Address which was streamed live on the Municipal Facebook page, and simulcasted in community radio stations. No one said the load reductions is permanent solution.

The Tribune recently communicated with Msukaligwa Local Municipality, regarding the remedy to the load shedding situation, and posed a number of questions to the communication department. As municipal load shedding is not a long term solution to the issues faced by the municipality, it is not acceptable to appease the community with statements claiming that “they are working on a solution”, but no further indication as to the way forward. The reply received to the aforementioned is as follows: “The Executive Mayor of MLM has been on Community radio stations several time explaining load reductions, and it also forms part of State of Municipal Address which was streamed live on the Municipal Facebook page, and simulcasted in community radio stations. No one said the load reductions is permanent solution. Load reduction is due the power demand that has spiked, during winter months which is exacerbated by the illegal connections a fact that is denied by good-self.

In averting possible power blackouts, the municipal implement the load reductions which is standard norm in situations like this, Eskom is doing it and individual households does it when there’s overload. The municipality on an ongoing program is implementing the cutting off of the illegal connections from grid. The municipal has engaged for an increase Notified Maximum Demand (NMD) for all strained substations, it must be noted that the process is a cumbersome and long process that will also have huge financial implications. The municipality has developed electricity infrastructure master in order to address capacity and infrastructure challenges within Msukaligwa Local Municipality. The projected funds needed to address the capacity and infrastructure is R81 416 785.21. The municipality has since submitted the plan to national and provincial government,” Mandla Zwane, MLM spokesperson, stated. The Tribune also enquired as to will be held responsible for damages suffered by residents who are left without electricity extended periods of time. Rotting meat, deep freezes running down, and food spoiling in fridges, as well as damage to electronics are included, amongst others. MLM dodged elaborating on the question, and simply stated “anyone who has a complaint with municipality, referred such to municipality.” Therefore it can be assumed that residents who suffer damages due to lack of service provision from MLM must approach the legal department to submit a claim against the municipality.

Lastly, the Tribune enquired as to what MLM plans to improve communication during electrical outages, as a myriad of residents complain that either the call centre does not answer the phone, or the outage is not attended to in a timely manner. Updates on restoration times often do not reflect the actual restoration of electricity. “During the power outages, sometimes the Call Centre is also affected, the calls are get in as the telephone system at the Call Centre function only when there’s power. The municipality has proactively issued schedules for the load reductions. The municipality is in the procurement process of a new hybrid telephone system, and hosting of the contact Centre is at the advanced stage. The municipality urges the public to have patience, as this matter is been addressed/resolved. The incessant power outages put a strain on the Municipality as well.” Zwane concluded.

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