No power cuts for Zuma, cricket, rugby or the breweries

While many residents and businesses reel from power cuts, there is no load shedding for the president and his top ministers, or for the breweries, or cricket and rugby.

A Cape Times investigation has found this is thanks to national regulation NRS048-9, the national standard for load shedding dealing with the appropriate treatment of critical loads.

And residents groups are up in arms about it.

Gordon Dindi, city head of network control, said NRS048-9 identified the safety of people, the environment, potential damage to plants associated with a critical national product, and technical constraints on executing load shedding and curtailment or restoration.

Based on these criteria, the city excluded major hospitals, major central business districts (CBDs) and areas where there are major crowds gathered for specific events.

The areas that have been previously excluded were the Table Mountain cable car, as well as parts of the CBDs across the city and major hospitals.

“Some residents and businesses may be excluded from load shedding if their properties share a dedicated circuit with the exclusions,” he said.

“For the time being, Claremont CBD is one of the areas exempted due to it being a major (hub).”

The politicians and the breweries are in Newlands, next door to Claremont.

Dindi said that Newlands Control Centre was also exempt as it was critical to the supply of electricity service, network control operations (load-shedding switching centre).

Between October last year and February, Newlands cricket fixtures also went ahead without any power disruptions because of the major crowds the stadium brought for specific events.

The same applied to the Newlands rugby fixtures, where between March/April and September/October no load shedding took place to facilitate the crowds coming to watch games.

Brewery giant SAB Miller’s original plant in Newlands is another facility that does not experience load shedding because it is considered a load curtailment customer as per NRS048-9. Dindi said the Booster Pump Station is also exempt because of the impact on a vital utility.

“As a result, surrounding residential customers, including the Newlands parliamentary housing complex sharing its grid, will benefit,” he said.

But while the many parliamentarians living in this area will also experience this exemption, Dindi said the status of the residents is never a consideration when it comes to load shedding.

“Load shedding is always implemented in accordance with the published schedules, except for instances where certain areas are excluded according to NRS048-9.

“However, the restoration of power sometimes results in what is described as ‘nuisance tripping’, which often goes unreported due to the assumption that the outage is due to load shedding.

“This could also lead to some customers being under the impression that they are being disproportionately affected,” he said.

While most Newlands residents have benefited from this exemption, areas like Rondebosch East nearby sometimes experienced four hours of load shedding a day last week.

Wynberg Residents and Ratepayers’ Association chairwoman Kristina Davidson said it did not make sense that the Claremont CBD would be exempt due to it being a central business district.

“The same then would have to apply to Wynberg, which is also a business district,” Davidson said