The right generator for load shedding

Selecting the right type of generator
Eskom has received many requests for information on the buying of generators and how to connect their generators at their homes. Generators are now available in a wide range of sizes. Generators with power supply capacities of 5kW to 50kW are readily available in the personal and home use markets, while industrial generators are anywhere from 50kW to over 3 Megawatts. A genset is either petrol or diesel driven, and is mechanically connected to an electrical generator. The engines need to be started either using a rope attached to the engine similar to that of a lawnmower or with a starter motor and a switch.

The generator part of the genset will start generating power once the engine starts and will stabilise at around 220 volts until a load or wattage is connected. This is where it is vitally important to decide what load is to be connected to the genset. Unfortunately, generator under sizing is one of the most common mistakes committed by buyers. Not only could it damage your generator, but it can also damage other assets connected to it, create hazardous situations, and even limit overall productivity of the unit and/or the business relying on it. If nothing else, the key thing to remember here is that more is always better than less.

Things to consider when buying a generator:
• Safety: Generators need to be correctly installed and/or connected to the building via a suitable and approved change-over switch including installation of an over current protection circuit breaker in the main distribution board by a certified electrician in terms of certificate of compliance SABS 1- 0142
• Total electrical load to be connected
• Voltage, frequency and phase
• Does the generator need to start automatically? If so, then an automatic mains failure (AMF) mechanism needs to be installed. If not, a procedure needs to be put in place for manual start and switch over.
• Suitable location for the generator – outside or in vented area (not to be installed in an enclosed area or indoors)
• Acceptable noise levels
• Altitude and running time

How big a generator should you get?
This capacity depends on the sum (maximum total load expected at any given time) of the electrical loads you want to power simultaneously, measured in watts. First, add up all the loads you know you want to be able to run simultaneously. Then, as a precaution, figure out which electrical item in your house requires the most electricity to start its motor and add that to your total, bearing in mind that the startup current of a pool pump motor, for example, is about 1.4 times the running load and large items like air conditioners and some refrigerators can be two or three times what they use while running. Make sure your generator can accommodate that extra electricity needed so that larger items won’t overload the system if they start up.
Every generator has two wattage ratings: running wattage and surge wattage. Generators are rated for surge wattage because they should have some excess capacity in case the load you need is temporarily larger than what you’ve calculated. When you buy a generator, choose the size based on the running wattage and its surge wattage should automatically fall into line with what you need. If you’re worried about needing more surge wattage, buy a larger generator.

What loads should you consider powering with the generator?
• Kitchen, bathroom and sitting room lights
• One plug in kitchen for kettle or cellphone charger
• Refrigerator/freezer
• Television and decoder
• Garage door opener
• Microwave/oven
• Computer
• Security – alarm systems/electric fencing/lighting

How do you calculate all this?
All heating appliances such as stoves, heaters, dishwashers, geysers, kettles, tumble dryers, toasters and hairdryers draw the most power. Controlling the number of lights switched on during generated power is advisable. PCs and electronic equipment don’t use much power but are voltage sensitive. If the generator does not deliver a constant voltage and there are dips and spikes in the system, equipment is likely to suffer damage. During generator use it is best to switch off some appliances when using others.

In this example you need a generator with the following capabilities:
Recommended wattage: 3 692 (Appliance with the highest starting wattage + total running wattage for all other appliances = total wattage needed)
Maximum wattage: 4700 Voltage: 220-240V

Do you need to hire an electrician to set up a generator safely?
A licensed electrician, who must carry out the installation, must understand and must have experience in wiring the switches, since incorrect wiring of all the live, neutral and earth wires could be life threatening.

The local supply authority should be contacted to determine their particular requirements when a genset is installed.

You can check whether the electrician is registered by contacting the local offices of the Electrical Contracting Board of South Africa. In addition always make sure that he gives you a valid electrical certificate of compliance. NEVER attempt this work yourself and never plug a supply from a genset into a socket of your house. If you do not want to install a changeover switch, a temporary extension lead from the genset can be used to plug in the equipment that you require. The lead size is important to ensure that it can carry the required load.

The transfer or change-over switch is likely to be a manual device which has three switching positions – most have a central off position and a position to the left and right of the off position. One is for the main supply and the other for the generator supply.

This will mean that when the main supply fails, the switch will have to be manually turned from mains to the generator supply. The whole process will have to be repeated once the main supply returns.

This “switching” procedure is a vital part of the process as a “back feed” is both potentially dangerous and can also damage the generator and electronic devices such as computers, TV and hi-fi. The main supply and the generator supply must never run in parallel. These transfer switches can also be automatically controlled, but this is far more complicated and costs a great deal more.

Can’t I just plug my generator into a wall outlet?
No. This is known as backfeeding, and it’s very dangerous for a variety of reasons. For instance, if someone forgets to throw the main circuit breaker to electrically isolate the house from the grid, then the generator could send electrical power beyond the house and out onto the grid. Also should the earth leakage or main switch be left on, when grid power resumes it will destroy your generator and could even cause electrical or other fires and many other hazards. In addition, if you choose to switch off the earth leakage main switch to avoid this issue, you need to remember that your family is at high risk of electrocution as when back-feeding power to your house, since the electrical system will not have earth leakage protection.

What’s the difference between a standby generator and a backup generator?
A standby generator is permanently installed apparatus, much like a compressor for a central air-conditioning system. Its engine runs on natural gas or propane. A backup generator is a small, petrol-engine generator that you wheel into position outside the house and then plug into the transfer switch. Or it can be connected to electrical loads via heavy-duty extension cords.

If it’s raining outside, can you put the generator in the garage and run it there, as long as the door stays open?
No. Never run a generator inside a house, inside a garage, under a carport, on a porch, inside a screened porch or near an open window. Even with the garage door open, the carbon monoxide (CO) in the generator’s exhaust can sicken somebody inside the house or, in the worst case, even kill someone.

What other safety tips should you keep in mind?
Have working smoke and CO detectors in the house when using a generator.
Keep the generator at least 5 metres from the house to minimize risks from CO and also the risk of the generator’s hot muffler melting vinyl siding.
Never fuel a generator while it is operating (running) or when it’s hot as it is a huge
fire/explosion hazard. Remember: “Let it cool before you fuel.”

Generators are loud. What can be done about that?
Unfortunately, not much. More mechanically advanced generators do a better job than older ones at adjusting engine rpm to their electrical output. This reduces their running speed, which is quieter and conserves fuel. The simplest way to reduce generator noise is to reduce the electrical load you’re imposing on it.

Does the generator need to be grounded?
Follow the instructions in the owner’s manual. If the manual calls for grounding the generator, that’s relatively easy to do. One simple way is to run a 12-gauge ground wire from the grounding terminal on the generator to a copper ground rod you’ve driven into the soil next to the generator. (The generator will have a grounding terminal symbol to help you identify the terminal’s location.)

As an alternative, the manual may ask you to run a ground wire from the generator’s grounding terminal to the ground bus inside the house’s service panel. As long as you follow the instructions provided in the manual, the generator will be safely grounded.

Compiled by Eskom Corporate Affairs February 2015

16 Load Shedding Tips and Checklist

A load shedding checklist has been compiled by Eskom. Prepare yourself by doing the following:

Load Shedding Checklist
1. Keep your cell phone fully charged when the power is on. If your cellphone battery is low, remember that you can use your car charger in your car.
2. Invest in a small LP gas lamp for good quality lighting over a large area.
3. Prepare meals beforehand in case of a power outage.
4. Install solar powered security and garden lights.
5. Load shedding may result in alarm systems not operating properly therefore check with your insurer if you are covered should you have a break in while the alarm is not powered.
6. Remember to switch off your oven if it was on when the power outage started.
7. Keep boiled water in thermos flasks for hot drinks during a power outage.
8. Invest in a small LP gas heating ring for essential cooking and to boil water for hot drinks – make sure you have an extra bottle of gas.
9. Make use of surge protection: Electric surges are one of the biggest causes of damage to equipment during a power outage. Installing a surge protection device can help minimise damage. Have a surge protection device fitted to your electrical distribution board.
10. Keep frozen bottled water in your freezer to help keep food cold during a power outage.
11. Keep a battery- powered torch or candles in a place where it will be easy to find in the dark – make sure you have an extra set of fresh batteries.
12. Keep a small torch on your bedside table at all times – make sure you have an extra set of fresh batteries.
13. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed at all times – a power outage of four hours should not cause food spoilage and a freezer should keep food frozen and safe for at least a day.
14. Access, security and safety always remain a top priority – Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it. Also keep a key to your house with you if you regularly use the garage as the primary means of entering your home, in case the garage door will not open.
15. Most medication that needs refrigeration can be kept in a closed fridge for several hours without spoiling – it is essential that you check with your doctor or pharmacist to be sure about your type of medication.
16. Back up your data: Make it a priority to save your data offsite, in case of a hard drive crash or unforeseen electrical fault. Online “cloud-based” backups are very convenient and are mostly automated, which means that you have one less thing to worry about.

Passing of Minister Collins Chabane

Minister of DPSA Collins Chabane

On Sunday, 15 March 2015 Minister of Public Service and Administration Ohm Collins Chabane passed away in a tragic car accident together with his two protectors Sergeant Lawrence Lentsoane and Sergeant Lesiba Sekele while on their way from Polokwane in Limpopo Province to Tshwane.

Minister Chabane was born on 15 April 1960 at Xikundu Village, Limpopo Province. He attended Shingwedzi High School and joined the ANC underground activities at the age of 17. In May 1980 he went into exile in Angola where he underwent military training and began underground political activities in 1981. Three years later he was arrested and served a term on Robben Island together with Tokyo Sexwale, Kgalema Motlanthe and Mosiua Lekota among others.

While in prison, he developed an interest in music and studied music theory and learned to play the harmonica. Years later he became the head of a Marimba band called Movement which also recorded five albums namely Seke vs Xikundu, Xai Xai, Duma, Best of Movement and Instrumentals.

Minister Chabane continued to study while in prison and obtained a Diploma in Electrical Engineering from Technikon South Africa and Diploma in Management from Arusha, Tanzania. He further holds a Diploma in Leadership and Management from the Turfloop Graduate School of Leadership under the University of Limpopo. After the 1994 elections, he was elected to serve as an MP in the National Assembly. Three years later he was re-deployed to Limpopo Province and became MEC in Premier Ngoako Ramatlhodi’s Office. In 1998 he was appointed MEC for the Department of Public Works and leader of government business in the Legislature. One of the highlights of his tenure in Public Works was the establishment of the Road Agency, which was the first institution of its kind to be established in South Africa. In 2005 Minister Chabane was appointed as MEC for Economic Development, Environment & Tourism. He embarked on an international awareness programme on economic opportunities in trade and investment in the tourism, mining and agribusiness sector. In 2009 Minister Chabane became Minister in the Presidency responsible for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation and in 2014 Minister of Public Service and Administration.

Minister Chabane established the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation which developed a number of tools to measure government performance and improve service delivery. The Minister was an avid golfer and has through The Collins Chabane Golf Day raised funds for the Xakani Charity Trust Fund. Minister Collins Chabane will be accorded a Special Official Funeral. He is survived by his wife Mavis Chabane and two children.

State of the province address : Talk to the Premier of KZN, Mr Senzo Mchunu

State of the province address: Talk to the Premier of KZN, Mr Senzo Mchunu

The Premier of KwaZulu Natal, Mr. Senzo Mchunu will deliver the State of the province address on the 27th of February,2015.
Members of the public are requested to write their inputs into the Premier’s Speech for the State of the Province address and place them in the comment boxes provided be the Municipality.

Newcastle Municipality Main building ( Both Entrances)
Nedbank Building- ( Both Entrances)


The Newcastle Municipality wishes to inform its customers about a scheduled water supply interruption in Newcastle West and East due to the Department of Water Affairs which will be inspecting and assessing the Service Gates at Nthingwayo Dam on the 24th of February 2015. Both the raw water pipe lines will be isolated; this will result in a 70% short supply of raw water to the Ngagane water plant for the 8 hour period. This will have an impact on the supply of potable water and water outages will occur late on the 24th and definitely on the 25th up until late in the evening.
Residents are kindly requested to use water sparingly and not to water gardens on this day. The Municipality would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.

For any enquiries please contact: Water Services Call Centre Telephone No.: 0860 144 144


Water Supply Interruption Notice

The Newcastle Municipality wishes to inform its customers about a scheduled water supply interruption in Newcastle West due to the installation of a new 700mm diameter steel pipeline that will connect to the existing showground pump station as part of our infrastructure upgrades and service improvement plans.

Date: 13 February 2015
Time: 5:00am to 12:00 noon.
The following areas will be affected: CBD/Town, Central, Arbor Park, Newcastle Mall, Casino, Karbochem, and Vlam Industrial area, Fairleigh, Lennoxton, Paradise and Fernwood.

Date: 14 February 2015 and 15 February 2015
Time: 5:00am to 2:00am.
The following areas will be affected: Amiel Park, Hutten Heights, Pioneer Park, Aviary Hill, Sunnyridge, Schuinshoogte, Signal Hill, Barry Hertzog Park, Amajuba Park and Ncandu Park.

Residents are kindly requested to use water sparingly and not to water gardens on this day. The Municipality would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.

For any enquiries please contact: Water Services Call Centre Telephone No.: 0860 144 144

Municipal Manager
K Masange

HIV/AIDS remains a challenge despite improvements

HIV/AIDS remains a large part of our lives challenges and is a continuous struggle to decrease the speed of the diseases. This was the accepted feeling during the Local AIDS Council held at the Newcastle council chamber on 15 January 2015. Present at the Local Forum were different stakeholders including government organizations, NGO’s, traditional healers and ward committee members.

During the discussion the forum dealt with matters of HIV/AIDS and were encouraged to initiate programs pertinent to the town’s demographics and challenges in relation to the diseases.

“Forums established to deal with matters of HIV/AIDS need to be spot on with their programmes, with the aim to fight AIDS; they need to understand the demographics and challenges. Parents also need to understand that teaching their children about issues of HIV forms part of their primary tasks in nurturing them” said Acting Special Programmes Manager Mrs. Dube during her opening address.

The council also noted and emphasized the need to know ones status and remain positive about it. People living with HIV shared their stories as they advised on living with the diseases. i.e. Exercising, Staying faithful, taking medication accordingly keeps one healthy and alive.


Ms. Lizzy Masango from Red Cross (NGO) also gave an insightful presentation on their role in fighting AIDS and helping those affected. Red Cross conduct home visit to help those affected by the virus, do referrals where necessary, provide first aid assistance and educate communities about AIDS as they encourage them to test.

The council proceeded with debates which touched on many contributing factors to lack of education on AIDS. One other emphasizes was made that revealing our status is not enough, but forums that are supportive and meaningful to us and other people are needed. The Local AIDS Council is set to sit continuously in order to come up with strategies and ideas to eradicate the epidemic.

Disability Sport Day: “We all can play”


A sense of life, euphoria and flamboyant play summed up the Disability Sport Day recently hosted by the Newcastle Municipality Special Programmes unit at Richview Hall on the 11th December 2014. This is one of the platforms that the municipality utilizes for engagement and interaction with people living with disability. Also present at the event was the Department of Health, Department of Sport and Recreation, Department of Social Development, Office of the Premier, Education Support Services Trust and NADO.
The day proceeded with full participation from all those present a variety of sporting codes were available including ; umlabalaba, netball, wheelchair basketball, tug of war, goal ball, fun walk and 100 meters sprint.

On completion participants received a certificate and winners were awarded with medals and trophies to add the cherry on top, ten basketball wheelchairs were handed over to the disability forum by Department of Sports and Recreation.

The purpose of the day was presented by Mrs Samke Dube. “We intend to listen and give everyone a sense of belonging and to strengthen our relations. Government shall always have an ear to listen to you and programmes to support you and your forums” she explained.

Furthermore, they were encouraged to come up with programmes that are directly addressing their issues, not to wait for government. “We want to get from you the milestones you have achieved, share your thoughts and ideas, never be silent partners” said Mrs. Dube.

Her sentiments were echoed by Newcastle Municipality COO Mr. Errol Mswane who manifested the great support, commitment and admiration that government has for the disable. “We love you as the Newcastle Municipality, come up with your own programmes, let us hear from you and we will surely support and advance whatever course you have” manifested Mr. Mswane.

Discrimination of people living with disability was also wildly rejected by Mrs. Maphalala from the Office of the Premier. “We need to wash out all forms of discrimination; more badly for the disabled their discrimination begins at home to communities, schools and ultimately and the workplace” said Mrs. Maphalala.

This day came as the culmination of the recently launch of Disability zones forum including of five Zones (Osizweni, Blaauwbosch, Madadeni, Inner City and Charlestown) with clear defined and distinguished mission namely community participation, team work, strategic programmes, strategic partnership, and community development respectively. During the event each zone was awarded with the certificate on their mission for participation encouragement and recognition.

Newcastle Municipality launches Help Centre on N11


On Wednesday, 10 December 2014, the Newcastle Municipality Public Safety launched a Help Centre on the N11, which is a National Route. The 10th of December 2014 marked the end of school calendar as schools closed on this day, therefore, it was anticipated that the roads will be busy.
Present at the launch was the local Traffic Department, Fire Department and the senior management from Newcastle Municipality.
The intention of the Help Centre was to :
• Create road safety awareness
• Promote high visibility on the N11 national route
• Establish a centre where motorists can report any incidents with minimum difficulty
• Safety Education
• Create awareness on the fire services summer contingency plan (lightning, severe storms, floods and fires)

It was a first launch and it operated on a 24 hour basis, with Traffic Officials and Firefighting crews creating awareness throughout the night. Another Help Centre will be held on 29th December 2014 at a venue to be determined.

The Newcastle Municipality Public Safety requests all residents to be cautious and considerate when driving on our roads, as offenders will not be tolerated and no stone will be left unturned during this festive period. Traffic Officers will be deployed in all the areas until 31 January 2015.

Residents are requested to report any incidents and emergencies on our emergency contact number, 034 312 1222. This number is fully operational on a 24 hour basis, 365 days per year.

Public Safety wishes all road users a blessed Christmas and safe holidays.

Fire at Siyahlala-la Informal Settlements

In the late hours of Sunday the 2nd of November 2014, a call came through the Protection services department reporting once again that a fire at broken out at Siyahlala Informal Settlement (ward 25).

Less than a month ago a similar incident had occurred when a shack burnt down from a mysterious causes resulting to the family losing all their belongings, unfortunately the lives of four people were lost.

Eight firefighters were dispersed to the site finding the whole shack engulfed with angry flames after what the community claimed was led to an explosion. On arrival firefighters worked tirelessly to extinguish the fire whilst making sure that the flames do not spread to adjacent households.”

“Bystanders informed me that there was a huge explosion. This was evident because in the shack there were two generators, two 19kg gas cylinders, two 48kg cylinders and not less than five 9kg gas cylinders. By the look of things, the shack was a fortress the way it was locked”. Said Mr. Mpeko (Acting Chief Fire Officer)

According to the SAPS the place was used as a shebeen, belonging to a widowed woman who stayed with her three children.


” There was absolutely no way that any of the deceased would have made it out of there, the fire was too intense because of the LPG found from the generators, the lock as well made it even more impossible to save them, this is mainly why the deceased where found burnt beyond recognition”. Concluded Mr. Mpeko

The fire prevention division within the Newcastle Municipality visited the Siyahlala-la community a few weeks ago to conduct fire awareness campaigns thus giving the community Fire Safety Precautions. It was through the rising number of households and agricultural land ravaged by fires that the Newcastle Fire Service became concerned and therefore decided to visit and workshop the community.

It is a known fact that fires can never be prevented, since it`s a crucial element in preserving nature. However, they can be prevented from damaging items and areas of value.

It is therefore the role of each one of us to join efforts in the fight against unwanted fires.

The fire department had the following Fire Safety tips for the residents:

• Always remember all fires start small.
• Fires need oxygen, something to light it and something that can burn.
• Removing any of the three elements stops the fire.
• Avoid unnecessary open flames.
• Keep your property free of grown and dry vegetation.
• Make firebreaks around your property (farm).
• Check Fire Danger Index (FDI) with the Fire Protection Association (FPA) office and /or fire department before making a firebreak.
• Avoid accumulation of combustibles in an unprotected area.
• Do not take a chance with open fires on a windy day.
• Keep matches away from children
• Keep fuel can away from children
• Make sure you extinguish the fire after a braai.
• Report ALL FIRES you can see regardless of size.
• Switch off the heater and stoves when you go to bed or when leaving the house.
• Do not place heaters to close to bed linen or curtains or any combustible material.
• Do not overload electrical plug sockets.
• Do not leave children alone in the house with heater/stove on.
• Stay away from bad habits that can cause harm to life, property and environment.
• Report ALL FIRES on 034 312 1222