Following the near crisis situation of load shedding and black out schedule proposed, the Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan sat down for crucial talks with the energy firm, who plunged South Africa into darkness at the beginning of the week with their heavy load shedding schedule.
Monday, witnessed “Stage 4” blackouts introduced for the first time, highlighting the bleak predicament Eskom have found themselves in. Energy expert Ted Blom described the move as a “disaster”, and South Africans woke up to the news that Stage 3 load shedding was being implemented throughout the whole of Tuesday.
The utility giant is struggling with a constraint to its diesel supply and generation shortages. The issue was exacerbated when seven power units tripped on Monday, cutting 20 – 40% of SA’s total electricity supply.
Pravin Gordhan, enough is enough. The minister was locked in discussions for over six hours with Eskom, in a desperate attempt to find accountability and a plot a route forward. The SOE released a statement late on Monday night, explaining what discussions took place:
“The escalation from Stage 2 to Stage 4 load shedding was caused by seven generation units tripping within five hours. The report on causes – as well as an overview of challenges facing old and new power stations – formed much of the discussion between the board and the Department of Public Enterprises By Monday evening, four units returned to service and we expect to have the remaining three back up on Tuesday”
Here’s a brief summary of what else was hammered as a nightmare came to life for Eskom over the past 24 hours:
- Two new power stations – Medupi and Kosile – are unreliable and aren’t contributing “meaningfully” to the power supply.
- The board have resolved to review when all “new build” projects will be completed.
- Both the board and Gordhan will inspect how to minimise costs and increase output.
- An in-depth audit of the whole system will take place, in order to understand how to avoid another scenario like Monday.
Cyril Ramaphosa left in the dark by load shedding
During his State of the Nation Address last week, Cyril Ramaphosa threw his weight behind Eskom and supported the need for tariff hikes in the near future. However, his confidence was left somewhat shaken on Monday evening, when he revealed the load shedding news “came as quite a shock” to him.
You can say that again, Cyril. It’s unlikely we will see another escalation to Stage 4 on Tuesday after the flailing utility managed to regain control of almost all their power units. But as we’ve learned so many times over the years, we must expect the unexpected when it comes to Eskom.