PacB Group // New Conditions Governing the Use of Generators in Cape Town


New Conditions Governing the Use of Generators in Cape Town

Like the remainder of South African’s citizens, the residents of the Western Cape Province are subject to frequent power outages. These result from Eskom’s policy of scheduled load shedding, which is designed to ensure the national service provider is able to conserve sufficient reserves of power to avoid a disastrous total blackout event. Rolling blackouts call for effective countermeasures as can be seen from the number of consumers now resorting to the use of generators to help them beat the effects of the regular outages that have become a feature of life in Cape Town.

There have, however, been mixed reactions among the residents of the DA-governed province in response to the introduction, on the 17th of January 2019, of an explicit ruling regarding the use of these increasingly necessary machines. Concerns that this ruling could restrict locals from purchasing these emergency power supplies are, in fact, completely unfounded. In practice, the new mandate will not affect everyone who might be planning to buy one, and, instead, is intended purely to ensure it is installed in a manner that will pose no threat either to the safety of their owners or to that of others nearby. For the sake of those in the Mother City, this is how improved regulation will actually affect the use of generators in and around Cape Town.

As stated earlier, the rules will not apply to all users. If it is the intention of the owner to operate the unit independently of the municipal network, powering it up only to perform isolated tasks such as operating a spotlight, they are free to do so without seeking permission. Nevertheless, the City strongly recommends that they employ a qualified professional to perform the installation. Given that an incorrect installation could cause damage to the appliance, this should probably be seen as good advice.

There are, however, some benefits for anyone purchasing generators in the Cape Town area to consider synchronising or connecting them with the city’s supply network. When configured in this manner, it then becomes possible to switch the owner’s power load automatically from the municipal supply to the alternative source without interruption. For those who require power for production purposes, this option offers the means to avoid any financial losses that might otherwise accrue during the downtime required to perform the switching manually. Once the system detects that the mains power has been restored, of course, the consumer’s load will be automatically transferred back to the city’s network.

Given such benefits, this is the preferred configuration for many of those who must rely on backup or emergency power from generators. For the sake of health and safety, however, those who may wish to adopt this option must now first obtain permission from the City of Cape Town.

As well as its recent insistence that these prospective users seek prior permission and that any subsequent installation should be undertaken by a professional, the City also gives them some important additional guidelines that need to be followed. The advice pertains to two of the possible side-effects of operating an electrical generator that, if they are not managed effectively, have the potential to infringe the rights of other Cape Town citizens.

The first of these is noise pollution. Large or small, petrol or diesel-driven, these machines tend to be noisy, and the faster they are required to operate, the noisier they become, and could be a nuisance to neighbours. Exceeding 50 decibels could see valid complaints leading to notices issued to offenders. More serious, though, is the risk posed by atmospheric pollution, especially in confined spaces. Cape Town residents who are planning to purchase a generator will quickly see a good return on investment.

Our qualified technicians offer support and advice in the selection of the right power solution for your needs by calculating your power requirements.

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