EThekwini Municipality has received numerous queries on the approval processes required for backup electricity supplies in residential areas.
The Municipality’s stance on the matter is:
When using a backup diesel and petrol generator or uninterrupted power supply and battery pack (UPS) as a back-up system, it is required to appoint a qualified electrician who is authorised to do this type of work. Provided that the generator or UPS can never run in parallel (synchronised) with the mains, the Municipality has no say in how and where it is connected behind the meter. This is covered in SANS 10142 wiring code. A qualified electrician will be able to advise on the wiring code.
It is possible to connect the Generator or UPS directly to the home Distribution Board (DB) provided there is an “Automatic Change Over Switch”. This switch will ensure the backup system activates when there is no power from the grid (e.g. during load shedding) and turn off the backup system once the grid power has been re-established.
With regards to planning requirements, Section 4 of The National Building regulations and Building Standards Act states that:” (1) No person shall without the prior approval in writing of the local authority in question, erect any building in respect of which plans and specifications are to be drawn and submitted in terms of this Act.”
The Act defines a “building” as including …
(e) any facilities or system, or part or portion thereof, within or outside but incidental to a
building, for the provision of a water supply, drainage, sewerage, stormwater disposal,
electricity supply or other similar service in respect of the building;
A small (readily) portable generator or UPS does not require a building application however a fixed or large generator or any alteration or building erected to house a generator would require the submission of a building application in terms of sec 4 of the Act. If connected to the supply an electrical clearance and certificate would be required. Location, noise generation and fuel storage (if applicable) would be taken into account. This may require impact assessments to be done.