Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis tabled the City of Cape Town’s ‘Budget for Building Hope’ for the fiscal year 2023/24 during a full council meeting on Wednesday. Mayor Hill-Lewis presented a draft budget of R69.9 billion, with a R2.3 billion commitment to mitigate loadshedding.
Also read: Cape Town mayor tables the draft budget for 2023/24
Mayor Hill-Lewis expressed confidence that Cape Town would be the first metro to break away from loadshedding.
‘It is our mission to end load-shedding in the City of Cape Town,’ he said. ‘Besides crippling our national economy, it comes with crippling costs to local government.’
Loadshedding has reportedly already cost the city R390 million in the current fiscal year, the mayor said. This includes the cost of new generators, fuel, overtime, security, losses from theft, vandalism and fewer people buying electricity.
‘In our effort to protect our city from this most glaring of state failures, this budget includes R2.3 billion to end loadshedding over the next three years.’
This amount includes R220 million in independent power purchases over the next three years, as well as R288 million for the City’s Power Heroes programme, which incentivises Capetonians to use less power during peak hours to help prevent loadshedding stages.
‘Cape Town is also proud to be the first city in the country to offer households and businesses cash for their excess rooftop solar power. And I am pleased to announce that we are proposing to raise this feed-in tariff by 10% to 15%.’ According to Mayor Hill-Lewis, the City wants solar to be appealing so that as many residents and businesses as possible will help end loadshedding over time and that there are no limits to how much power you can sell back to the City.
According to the mayor, the City has budgeted R1 billion in the medium term to operate and maintain the Steenbras pumped-storage hydroelectric plant.
‘This is a critical part of the city’s loadshedding resilience, and the fact that this 44-year-old station performs so well is a testament to the power of regular and thorough maintenance.’
Capital expenditure on solar PV installations will total R636 million over the next three years, with R50 million set aside for battery storage and R32 million set aside for the waste-to-energy programme at landfills.
‘We are confident that Cape Town will be the first metro to break free from the suffocating hold that Eskom has placed on our country, and in doing so, we will show that there is a bright electric light at the end of this Eskom tunnel.’
The R69.9 billion draft budget is now open for public participation until May 2023.
Hear what DA shadow minister for energy has to say about loadshedding