Molefe Seeletsa
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
18 Mar 2021
11:19 am

Suspending load shedding for King Zwelithini’s memorial service to cost R40m

Molefe Seeletsa

Power utility reveals it spends about R10 million per hour on burning diesel to generate electricity.

Picture: Michel Bega

The suspension of load shedding for a four-hour period will cost Eskom and taxpayers about R40 million. The power utility has also revealed it spends about R10 million per hour on burning diesel in order to generate electricity.

Eskom announced late on Wednesday that it would suspend load shedding between 10am and 2pm in order to accommodate for King Goodwill Zwelithini’s memorial service, on Thursday.

This came after the power utility announced earlier on Wednesday that the country was moving back to stage 2 load shedding, after roughly 13 hours of stage 1.

Speaking on Power 98.7, Eskom spokesman Sikonathi Mantshantsha explained that the power utility would have to burn diesel to generate electricity.

“This will cost Eskom and the people of South Africa money to burn diesel,” he said.

ALSO READ: Eskom ‘in trouble’ as it burns expensive diesel to keep lights on

Mantshantsha had previously revealed during an interview with Jacaranda FM last month, Eskom spends R10 million per hour to use open cycle gas turbines, which operates on diesel, at full capacity.

He confirmed that in a span of 10 years (from 2009 to 2019), Eskom has spent R47.4 billion on diesel alone.

Meanwhile, Mantshantsha has noted that Eskom will have to supplement the constrained power supply during King Zwelithini’s memorial service, however, it was something that the power utility cannot do everyday.

Mantshantsha further said that Eskom was very cautious in going ahead to suspend load shedding for those four hours.

“We took the extraordinary measures considering in fact that it is such a such a momentous and sad moment nationally,” he added.

Eskom producing less electricity

Last Friday, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) released its annual statistics on power generation in South Africa for 2020, which revealed that the cost of producing increased by three times despite Eskom producing less electricity in 2020 than it did over the past 10 years

The statistics showed that South African system demand dropped by 78%, which was mostly seen in 2020 due to Covid-19 lockdowns and reduced economic activity.

READ MORE: Load shedding ‘likely’ until December, says Eskom

However, even without the effects of 2020 system demand has been on a downward trend.

“For the period 2010-2020 system demand has reduced from 254 TWh (TeraWatt hours) to 234 TWh (-0,8% per year). Excluding 2020 (2010-2019) reduction from 254 TWh to 245 TWh (-0,4% per year).”

It was further revealed that load shedding occurred for 859 hours of the year (9.8%) with an upper limit of 1.798 GWh (Gigawatt hours) relative to actually achieved energy shed of 1.269 GWh.

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