Joburg seeks private power to cut load shedding

Johannesburg, South Africa’s economic hub and its richest city, is seeking electricity supply from private generators to reduce the amount of scheduled power outages.

The local government and City Power issued a request for short-term power purchase agreements of as long as 36 months, according to a statement.

“A city whose contribution to the national economy is almost 16%, while making up 40% of Gauteng’s economy, cannot be left without energy for hours on end,” said Johannesburg Mayor Mpho Phalatse, referring to the province where the metropolis is located.

In addition, the city says it is undergoing approval for ministerial determination to procure power from independent power producers on a longer-term basis.

City Power CEO Tshifularo Mashava stated that “the traditional business model of procuring the bulk of our power from Eskom is no longer viable. Eskom itself has conceded to that effect. It is for this reason that we have developed a sustainable energy strategy that includes procuring power from diverse sources.”

Eskom, the embattled state power utility, has imposed 160 days of loadshedding in Africa’s most-industrialised nation this year. That has municipalities scrambling for alternatives.

Cape Town, the second-largest city in the country, earlier this year called for supply from independent producers and has issued a tender to build its first grid-connected solar plant.

City Power buys 90% of its electricity from Eskom with the balance coming from Kelvin Power Station.

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