RPA Committee Monthly Report – July 2020

Legal Services – Potential Irregular Expenditure
July 15, 2020
Article in Knynsa-Plett Herald 23 July 2020
July 26, 2020

RPA Committee Monthly Report – July 2020

Dear Members

Below is Oliver Rissik’s Power and Water monthly report, for your information.

Plett Ratepayers Committee Monthly Report – July 2020

Power

1.   The registration for solar power users wishing to feed back into the grid, is for domestic users only at this stage. Electrical Dept. will shortly call for (advertise) solar power users to register.

2.   Automated Meter Reading (AMR), as reported earlier, will commence now for bulk users only. The audit has been done on 40 meters to date and this will be extended to 80 soon, which will then form the pilot project. Modems will then be installed to ascertain if meters are reading correctly. It will be 2 to 3 months of trial.

3.   Regular maintenance has been severely affected by the death of one of the electrical staff from Covid 19 and the subsequent isolation of most of the staff who had been in contact with this person. Staff complement now back at work.

4.   Street lights. Lighting of the unlit section of Odlands will not take place now, due mainly to the high cost of installing light poles and cabling on a difficult section of road. Instead, a section of roadway in the vicinity of the Police Station will be done.  The current replacement of street light heads with LED fittings is behind schedule due to lockdown interruption, but this work will continue until the current stock of LRD fittings, already purchased, is used up. 2100 unit heads will have been replaced.

The Kwik Spar circle high mast light has a cable fault under the roadway, hence its not having been repaired yet. The plan was to replace it with lighting on the periphery of the circle, but not done due to budget constraints.

5.   The new substation in Kwano, near the clinic, is virtually complete. The transformer is installed and work there will be complete by September.

6.   Cabling for the new Ebenezer housing project will be done over the next few years.

7.   Magistrates Court substation (a R 4 mill. project) will only be done over the next 2 years. The contractor has already started work here.

8.   SS4 substation (near Market Square) upgrading will now be done as a high priority (at last, as its switchgear has been in the stores for over a year!).

9.   Budget for 2020/21. The pre-Covid capital budget amount for Electrical and Mechanical services was R 10.7 mil. This has now been increased to R 13.5 mil in the revised budget. This is still a  pretty small amount considering the current ageing state of the electrical infrastructure. The HV ring feed system has still not been completed (although this is on the new Master Plan for completion, but not now). The planned budget amounts for 21/22 and 2022/23 are R 20.5 mil and R 21.9 mil. respectively.

Water

1.    Roodefontein Dam is 71.7%, stable from last month. The Water Dept. is watching this level and the Keurbooms flow carefully as we are technically in stage 1 of water restrictions (although not enforced yet). June rainfall 22 mm – year total is now 280 mm.

Keurbooms flow from mid-May was up to 5600 l/sec just after the end of May rain but dropped steadily subsequently. On 22nd  June the flow was down to 345 l/sec, close to the 300 l/sec limit.

2.    Budget (purified and waste-water). Water capital budget has been cut. Pre-Covid total figure was R 40.3 mil. and revised figure is R 31.87 mil. – of this only R 13.9 mil. is for upgrades. The balance is for new work (housing!).   Operating budget is R 13 mil., up R1 mil. from last financial year. (R17 mil. was requested).

There is no budget allowance for fiber cement pipe replacement this financial year – a very short-sighted situation – Water Dept. not happy with this. The town’s piping is well past the design life of these pipes, hence the numerous and continuous pipe breaks. Poortijes pipes have been replaced but this was, in fact, not as urgent as the town area.  This budget cut has far reaching ramifications – water wastage (although not greatly significant) and a serious amount of overtime, as well as time wasted on repairs which could be usefully applied elsewhere. There is over 300 km of water piping in the Bitou area of which a small amount is relatively new. Unless a substantial amount is allocated for replacement, the current situation will persist.

3.    Desalination Plant maintenance contract delayed due to lockdown. New tender progress.

4.    Revenue collection for water appears to be a challenge.

5.    Brakkloof water pump station still in progress, but near completion. As for most projects, this has been delayed due to lockdown.

Oliver Rissik

Plettenberg Bay Ratepayers’ Association

Join Today