The Municipality’s water reservoirs are designed to cater for at least 48 hours of storage capacity in the event of any breakdown in bulk supply, while all sewage pump stations’ sumps are designed to cater for at least four hours’ flow without electricity, before overflowing. Electricity maintenance teams are constantly on standby to repair infrastructure that breaks down due to high stages of loadshedding. The Municipality and its dedicated Cable Theft Prevention Unit are also making strides in its fight against cable theft – an activity that soars during power outages. More and more culprits are being arrested and prosecuted for this crime in Drakenstein. Finally, the Municipality has been installing backup generators at its main offices, service desks, and facilities, such as the Paarl Civic Centre and other customer care centres, to ensure it is open for business and ready to serve the public. “Drakenstein Municipality further welcomes the R6 million relief aid we received from the Western Cape Government. Drakenstein will match this with R6 million, which indicates how serious we are about ensuring continuous, uninterrupted service delivery. Our procurement process to buy emergency diesel generators to the value of R12 million is already in place,” says Alderman Poole. 2. Revenue protection Municipalities, like any other business, need to balance their finances. If they don’t, this would lead to bankrupt municipalities incapable of delivering services. Drakenstein Municipality refuses to go down this road, and that is why it fiercely protects its revenue. Providing electricity supply is one form of revenue generation. The income generated from the electricity supply goes directly back to the essential maintenance of the electricity network infrastructure.

“Since the beginning of the year, we are noticing a decrease in revenue generated from electricity supply due to loadshedding and consumers opting to go off the grid. This is very concerning for us,” says the Executive Mayor. 3. Alternative energy To assist in alleviating the sting of Eskom loadshedding, the Municipality is investigating ways of generating or purchasing alternative energy. It has an open door to and is engaging with various Independent Power Producers (IPPs), which are large-scale commercial investors specialising in generating alternative energy for sale. The Municipality is also weighing the pros and cons of wheeling (IPPs using the municipal grid to distribute their power). The Municipality is further investigating tariffs for Small-Scale Embedded Generation systems (SSEGs), such as businesses or households that generate alternative energy for their own use and wish to push their surplus power into the municipal grid. Setting the trend, Drakenstein Municipality has since 2015 been paying SSEGs that have pushed power into the grid. Drakenstein Municipality is also one of four Western Cape municipalities participating in the Provincial Government’s Municipal Energy Resilience Programme, which aims to collaborate on various loadshedding mitigation projects.


“That being said, we believe the energy generation ball should be placed firmly back in the court of the National Government. We cannot act as islands. Municipalities play a supporting role, ensuring that South Africans receive the municipal services they deserve. This will remain our focus,” concludes Alderman Poole.


VARS | March

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