City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba intends to negotiate a contract with independent coal-fired power station Kelvin near OR Tambo International Airport as a possible solution for the city’s rolling blackouts.
During his State of the City Address delivered in Braamfontein on Tuesday, Mashaba said Johannesburg’s dependence on Eskom for its power is a disaster that the city now has to mitigate.
“Load shedding in the coming years is a reality, but government clearly has no plan (to deal with the electricity crisis),” Mashaba said. The city’s plans to source electricity from Kelvin Power Station – one of only a few that are not owned by Eskom – have failed in the past.
“In December 2018, we received a letter from Eskom stating that the City could not offset our load shedding requirements with the power generated from the Kelvin Power Station,” he said.
Mashaba, however, said the City of Johannesburg legal team will approach the courts to find a way of mitigating blackouts in the city.
“My intent goes beyond this (approaching the courts),” Mashaba said in his address.
“I have dispatched a team from the City to engage Kelvin (Power Station) to see whether a new contract could be negotiated that would see their output increased, and sold to the City at a cheaper rate than Eskom,” he said.
Should a new contract be implemented, the City has the license to procure 600MW from Kelvin, which has the ability to prevent all load shedding up to, and including Stage 6, said Mashaba.
In his address, Mashaba was scathing of Eskom and the damage it has done to businesses and residents in the city.
“Eskom has done the City of Johannesburg no favours,” he said.
While residents and businesses were left in the dark, there were no briefings or projections or assurances from Eskom.
“Our aged infrastructure, predictably, did not fare well with the power being switched on and off repeatedly and we were left with secondary outages arising from the damage,” Mashaba said.
In March, the power utility implemented Stage 4 load shedding which resulted to rotational power cuts leaving hundreds of residents and businesses in limbo.
Source: News 24