Keeping the lights on at the Boardwalk hotel and casino one of Nelson Mandela Bay’s premier attractions, during times of heavy loadshedding can be a stressful job, even for the most experienced of maintenance teams. But the Boardwalk’s maintenance team is determined to keep the hotel running smoothly during loadshedding.

Ettienne Bester, Acting Maintenance Operations Manager at Boardwalk, and his team of 12 in the maintenance department, was searching for alternate ways of consuming electricity. “We are trying to minimise consumption of the complex’s electricity to lighten the load on our three generators which power the hotel and casino during loadshedding,” he said.

“When loadshedding starts, the power dips temporarily and everyone gets a fright. But within seconds, our lights are back on as our UPS runs until the generators automatically kick in.

The casino has a 1750 kilowatt generator which can power the entire venue, but there is also a 500kw generator. “We split the load between the smoking casino, while the bigger one runs the non-smoking floor and administration area.” There is also a UPS system for both floors, which powered the lights and slot machines in January when one generator tripped.

Demonstrating the increase in the amount of loadshedding, Bester said that the generators ran for 20 hours last January, and 60 hours this year. “February last year was two hours, while this year it was 86 hours, which means that we have to service the generators more frequently.” The generators burn 125 hours of diesel every hour.

Instead of being serviced every 500 hours, they are now serviced every 250 hours, and Boardwalk is in the process of obtaining stock of replacement parts to avoid delays.

“Previously, when one generator had a problem, we had to wait three days for the part to arrrive, and have someone monitoring the machine around the clock.”

Boardwalk is in the process of implementing a business management system, which will manage the consumption of electricity. “During peak hours, from 6pm to 10pm, we will do things like switch off aircons in certain areas. We will shift the load from different time periods so that we don’t consume as much eletricity at the same time and during peak periods.” The hotel is also changing light bulbs from 40W to five watt LED lights, which uses less power.

Boardwalk General Manager, Tati Tsunke, said it was business as usual for the Bay’s Playground despite loadshedding. “We strive to ensure our guests are not impacted in any way, and that their time at Boardwalk is memorable for all the right reasons.