Over the past few years, the City of Cape Town has seen a laudable uptake of rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) installations. However, these systems can pose safety and legal risks to staff and family especially if installed incorrectly.
As such residents are reminded that all small-scale embedded generation (SSEG) systems like rooftop solar PV installations must be registered with and authorised by the City. Customers with existing systems have until 28 February 2019 to register their systems, after which they will be liable for a service fee for removal of the SSEG connection.
The City is legally required to ensure that the electricity distributed to all its customers complies with set quality standards. In order to do this the City needs to know where generation systems have been connected to the grid. Both current and previous versions of the Electricity Supply By-law have therefore required that generation equipment connected to the City’s network be authorised by the City’s electricity department.
Unauthorised PV systems can interfere with the quality of electricity supply, electricity demand management and future network planning. Connecting an SSEG system to the grid can also pose a safety risk to electricity maintenance staff as well as a fire risk to your household if done incorrectly. Furthermore, as homeowners are responsible for health and safety at their properties, future insurance claims may be jeopardised if unauthorised systems are operated.
As customers may not have been aware of the requirement to register and obtain authorisation for their SSEG, the City is allowing a grace period for existing systems to be registered and authorised as compliant with the by-law. The grace period for registration concludes on 28 February 2019.
Should a customer fail to register their system or demonstrate compliance with the by-law, they will be charged a R6 425.90 service fee for the removal of unauthorised SSEG connection. In addition, the supply of electricity to properties with unregistered SSEG systems may be disconnected and will only be allowed to be reconnected once the City is satisfied that the SSEG system is either disconnected, decommissioned or authorised and that the service fee has been paid.
“The City embraces the uptake of alternative energy as this contributes to creating a cleaner and greener city, and is grateful that so many of our residents are willing to invest in this technology. We are however required to ensure that electricity supply systems comply with relevant standards and do not pose a safety risk. We would like to thank our customers for their cooperation during the registration process,” says mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services; and energy, councillor Xanthea Limberg.
This registration requirement applies to both grid-tied and off-grid solar PV systems but does not apply to solar water heaters.
To start the registration process, visit: www.capetown.gov.za/solarpv.
For more information on the City’s SSEG programme, visit: www.SavingElectricity.org.za.