Load shedding in South Africa has caused a significant increase in generator noise complaints in close-knit communities, particularly in Cape Town. The City Health department has observed a substantial rise in these complaints:
- Between February 2022 and February 2023: nearly 200 noise complaints
- Previous 12 months: 60 noise complaints
As winter approaches and load shedding shows no sign of stopping, the city is urging residents to be mindful of guidelines when using generators.
Understanding and Consideration: The Key to Coexisting with Generators
Patricia van der Ross, a mayoral committee councillor for community services and health, explains that while generators make life easier during load shedding, they require mutual understanding and consideration when used in residential areas. Generators can be:
- Loud during operation
- Sources of emissions or odors
These factors must be carefully considered and managed to ensure a peaceful coexistence.
Regulations and Authorizations for Generators
There are several regulations related to generator ownership and use. Some examples include:
- Department of Energy: Regulates embedded low-voltage generator installations in the city
- City’s Air Quality Management By-law
- Community Fire Safety By-law: Relates to fuel storage requirements
- Western Cape Noise Control Regulations
Things to Remember When Owning a Generator
As a generator owner, it is essential to:
- Understand installation and fuel storage requirements
- Consider pollution factors such as noise, emissions, and their impact on human health and climate change
- Budget for noise abatement, fume elimination, and ongoing maintenance
Alternative Energy Solutions
The city encourages the use of alternative energy solutions like Solar PV, Inverters, and battery storage for those who can afford it.
Lodging a Complaint
To lodge a complaint, provide the following information:
- Contact details
- Noise source location
- Other relevant information related to the complaint
City officials will investigate the complaint and advise on necessary actions for compliance. This could include alterations to the appliance’s exhaust system, among other requirements.
Continued non-compliance may lead to legal action.
The Future of Load Shedding and Alternative Power Supplies
Despite government interventions, load shedding continues to be a problem, especially during the winter months when electricity demand increases. Households across South Africa are seeking alternative power supplies, but costs can be prohibitive.
Recent data from BrandMapp shows that, in many cases, the cost of mitigating load shedding is higher than the monthly electricity bill.
- Almost two-thirds of middle-class households spend less than R2,000 a month on electricity
- Most households spend up to R5,000 to prevent load shedding
- A 1,000Wh portable inverter costs around R8,000
This indicates that people may be opting for quick fixes rather than investing in long-term solutions. As the situation continues to evolve, it is crucial for communities to work together to manage the impact of generators and explore alternative energy solutions.