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UFS takes further steps to address load shedding
2015-02-24

The South African economy is experiencing its worst electricity crisis since 2008, with state power firm Eskom implementing load shedding as it struggles to meet growing demand for power.

The University of the Free State (UFS) has been planning and implementing projects to reduce the impact of load shedding since 2008. This was done primarily to ensure that the academic programme does not suffer as a result of the increasing cuts in power supply, which continued this year.

The university’s main concern is the supply of emergency power to lecture halls and laboratories.

Up to date, 35 generators are serving 55 buildings on the three campuses of the UFS. This includes 26 generators on the Bloemfontein Campus, eight on the Qwaqwa Campus in the Eastern Free State and one generator on the South Campus in Bloemfontein. The generators are serviced regularly and kept in a working condition.

Since 2010, the university has also ensured that all new academic buildings being built were equipped with emergency power.

On the South Campus in Bloemfontein the new lecture hall building and the Computer Laboratory are equipped with emergency power, while the installation of emergency power generators in other buildings is underway. Most of the buildings on the Qwaqwa Campus in the Eastern Free State are provided with emergency power.

“To expand on the work that have already been done, the main objective in the installation of more generators on the Bloemfontein Campus will be to ensure that lecture halls with emergency power are available on the centrally booked timetables and that more of the critical laboratories are equipped with emergency power,” said Mr Nico Janse van Rensburg, Senior Director: University Estates.

“There are still some critical buildings and venues on the Bloemfontein Campus that must be equipped with emergency power. However, this is a costly process and will have to be phased in over a period of time. The further implementation of emergency power is dependent on delivery times of equipment. The university is also looking into alternative power supply solutions, such as solar power,” he said.

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