Complaints on generator noise up in Cape Town

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  • The City of Cape Town’s Health Department has received nearly 200 generator noise complaints over a 12-month period.
  • As winter approaches and no clear indication of when load-shedding will end, residents are advised to be mindful of the guidelines around the use of generators.
Between February 2022 and February 2023, City Health received 197 generator noise complaints, compared to 60 during the previous 12 months.
‘The sharp rise in complaints tracks with the sustained load-shedding we’ve experienced, resulting in more residents and businesses turning to alternatives to mitigate the impact of power cuts. Generators make life easier, but it does necessitate a mutual understanding and consideration when it comes to the use of these machines in or near residential areas. Apart from ensuring that they are installed and operating correctly, generators can be quite loud when in operation, and also be the source of emissions or odours. These are all things that need to be carefully considered and managed.
‘While our Noise Control staff are mandated to investigate complaints and implement the necessary corrective measures, we also want to increase awareness and education among the general public, and help develop an environment that takes cognisance of everyone’s rights,’ said Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Patricia van der Ross.
In terms of generator authorisation processes, the Department of Energy regulates the process of embedded low voltage generator installations in the city.
There are a number of other regulations that could also be applied, including the City’s Air Quality Management By-law, the Community Fire Safety By-law as relates to fuel storage requirements, and the Western Cape Noise Control Regulations.
Points to consider in the use of a generator:
  • Be aware of the requirements around the installation/fuel storage
  • The pollution factor, including noise and emissions that affect human health and climate change
  • Budget for possible noise abatement as well as elimination of fumes and ongoing maintenance of the plant
More information on the installation of generators and compliance is available HERE 
Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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