Parkhurst planning to get off the power grid

The community started a five-year project aimed at taking over 2,000 homes off the power grid.

FILE. The Parkhurst Residents & Business Owners Association plans to get off the grid completely by 2020. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Amid fresh warnings of load shedding for today, a suburb in Johannesburg is planning to get off the grid completely by the year 2020.

The Parkhurst Residents and Business Owners Association has started a five-year project aimed at taking over 2,000 homes off the power grid.

The associations' Cheryl Labuschagne says they want to be self-sufficient.

"The idea is for Parkhurst to become the first suburb in South Africa to adopt a much more environmentally friendly lifestyle. The most immediate impact is load shedding by Eskom. But we're looking at getting people to reduce their electricity and to look at alternative ways of generating electricity."

Eskom started implementing load shedding again last week, citing what it says is an increased demand on the national power grid as the reason.

Power cuts were implemented across the country between 5pm and 10pm on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, the utility suspended load shedding, saying demand had been reduced, but the situation changed quickly.

At the same time, Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau says the city council has met with the biggest power consumers and will soon reveal a plan to mitigate the effects of nationwide load shedding and introduce private producers onto the system.

Tau says the essential role players discussed the effect of load shedding on the city's economy as well as what needs to be done to preserve electricity.

The mayor says further discussions have been planned with business groups to map out a practical response.

"We're currently looking at interventions that could jointly be undertaken by the city together with live power users. We're expecting a report over the next two weeks."

Eskom in the meantime urged customers to continue to use energy sparingly and has once again appealed to customers to switch off non-essential appliances to conserve electricity.

Take a look at EWN 's feature on how to survive load shedding.

To view load shedding schedules in your area, click here.