Avatar photo

By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Ramokgopa credits maintenance and management for reduced load shedding

It has been 13 days since the power utility suspended load shedding, the longest period without power cuts this year.

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa says planned maintenance and Eskom management are responsible for the reduced load shedding South Africans have been experiencing of late.

The minister briefed the media on the implementation of the energy action plan on Tuesday.

It has been 13 days since the power utility suspended load shedding, the longest period without power cuts this year.

ALSO READ: Ramokgopa says there is a greater level of stability at Eskom

When the country experienced the power cuts, they were mostly of lower intensity.

“There has been an improvement, if we were to take the 1st to 31 March 2023, you will see that we only had about two periods of Stage 1 load shedding and now in this similar period this financial year we only have one stage of load shedding,” said Ramokgopa.

“Stage 1 to Stage 2 load shedding accounted for half of what we have experienced this year. The intensity of load shedding is coming down.”

ALSO READ: Ramokgopa talks a good game, but ‘it’s just a PR stunt’

The higher stages of load shedding were more frequent last year compared to this year.

“Thanks to the Eskom leadership, we are able to bring back Medupi earlier than anticipated. The unit went out as a result of a fire. The initial expectation was to bring it back in 2025, but the Eskom management looked around the world for the generator of a similar specification – a second-hand generator – appreciate that these generators have a lifespan of about 50 years and this one still had 15 years of life. It has been delivered to the station on 5 April. It will be commissioned by August this year,” said Ramokgopa.

“In the next five months, we should be able to get 25 083MW of new generation capacity.

ALSO READ: Ramokgopa says SA moving away from Stage 6 load shedding norm

“The kind of improvement we are witnessing is not an accident, it’s an investment made by competent men and women at Eskom. However, if there is load shedding tomorrow, it doesn’t mean the trendline has dissipated. We are trying to undermine opportunities for these units to fail.”

Ramokgopa on Eskom challenges

Ramokgopa said that although the power utility had made progress in addressing the issue of load shedding, there were still a few hurdles it needed to overcome, including the loss of skilled people and expertise.

“To address the issue of inadequate capacity, here we are accepting that Eskom is not the silver bullet. Our problems with regards to load shedding will not be solved by Eskom alone. It’s a major player in the short term, but we need additional generation capacity,” he said.

ALSO READ: Ramokgopa asks private sector for money to end load shedding

“That’s why they need to expedite that engagement with the independent power producers to the extent that Eskom can make a contribution, we are able to get them on load as soon as possible.

“The issues around the skills and expertise, just an admission that as a result of both the objective and subjective challenges that were confronting Eskom, there has been a haemorrhaging of skills. It’s important that we’re able to ensure we get the right people into the right positions.”

Read more on these topics

Eskom Kgosientsho Ramokgopa Load Shedding