After days of loadshedding frustration, there is finally a confirmed schedule for Newcastle. Giving Newcastillians a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
Upon releasing the schedule on December 10, the Newcastle Municipality claimed they will strive to stick with the schedule, notwithstanding any unforeseen situation.
Below is a map to help residents identify their street address and match it to the correct zone number:
Below is the time schedule. The X marks what times loadshedding is meant to take place in your suburb:
However, despite the schedules, Eskom took to social media this morning, December 11, claiming loadshedding is now reduced to stage 2.
According to Eskom’s statement on Twitter, the power utility has made progress in service recovery.
This is largely due to several units being returned to service and the recovery from localised flooding at various power stations.
While Eskom’s Emergency Response Command Centre is still monitoring the situation, the power utility claims the generating plant continues to perform at low levels of reliability. This means any unexpected shift such as an increase in unplanned breakdowns can result in a change in the loadshedding stage at short notice.
Head of Communications at Newcastle Municipality, Dr Dumisani Thabethe explains this means residents’ geysers will be affected. However, should the situation require Eskom to go to Stage 4, Dr Thabethe says Newcastle Municipality will revert back to the abovementioned schedule.
But how has loadshedding affected Newcastle?
From the textile industry’s perspective, Alex Liu, a local businessman and IFP councillor, explains the power outages has caused a lot of damage.
“All the factories are closing this week Friday, it’s clutch time for factories to deliver and pay their workers leave-pay and year-end bonuses. This loadshedding has delayed their works for at least one working day. Many factories owners are trying to catch up.”
Furthermore, Liu says poor communication and lack of transparency from Eskom is making it worse for businesses to plan their working schedules.
Mathys Bornman of Mediclinic Newcastle explains the hospital has proactive measures in place for when there is loadshedding.
“Our generators can run theatres and emergency plugs for 8 hours and we have diesel reserves for if it is longer than that. Everything functions as normal except for non-essentials like TVs and aircons. Theatre usually reverts to emergency cases only.”
He further adds that Mediclinic Newcastle’s high-quality clinical care and focus on patient experience remains active even if the power is not.
Local optometrist, Rubeena Jadwat explains that loadshedding affects everyone in town.
“My business cannot run at all without electricity. All businesses, especially food and meat business see high losses when there is loadshedding. If we were given proper notices and timetables, we could have prepared in advance. Every day so far has been changed according to what has been released initially.”
Furthermore, Rubeena says, if Eskom is doing this to lighten the load, it doesn’t make sense to her. “This is because we increase our usage during times when there is electricity, therefore there is an overload during those times. Also, yesterday and Monday alone we saw big drops in the National GDP, imagine what’s going to happen to our economy over an extended period.”
With loadshedding affecting negatively affecting the town, it seems it is easing up for the time being. But will the lights remain on? Only time will tell.