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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Ramokgopa says SA moving away from Stage 6 load shedding norm

Ramokgopa says the private-public partnership has started bearing fruit.

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, says although load shedding may still be with us for a while, the government was working to reduce the intensity of the power cuts.

Ramokgopa briefed the media on the implementation of the Energy Action Plan on Monday.

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Ramokgopa said Eskom was witnessing an improvement in the Energy Availability Factor (EAF), which is a result of a few interventions by the government.

“We have managed to reduce load shedding by 600 hours. This shows that we’re moving in the right direction.”

Among the interventions is the isolation of six units across power stations including Kusile, Kendal, Majuba, Matla and Thuthuka.

“We identified that there are huge opportunities at these power stations,” said Ramokgopa.

“Between January 2023 and January 2024, we have been able to get back 3 510MW as a result of these interventions,” he said.

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Eskom also redeployed “seasoned” managers to go and be in charge of the recovery of Thuthuka and we’re beginning to see some results.

“We’re getting to see a situation where three of the units can be online at any given time.”

The government has also been benefitting from from the participation of the private sector through the national electricity crisis committee put together by President Cyril Ramaphosa to support Ramokgopa.

“This will ensure we’re able to deliver on the promise of ending load shedding and using the EAF as a blue print to address that situation.

“We were able to draw some expertise from the private sector who were dispatched to work at these power stations.”

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Between December and January, when electricity demand was low, Eskom carried out planned maintenance on units to ensure their optimal functioning when demand increases.

This was enabled by National Treasury’s bailout, which part of was invested in maintenance.

“We’re seeing that if we implement these early interventions, we’re able to survive the winter,” he said.

“Load shedding is unacceptable, but gradually we want to reduce its intensity. We’re getting to a situation that we should not be accustomed to Stage 6. Ultimately, we want to get to a situation where we eliminate load shedding.

“The reduction in the intensity and frequency of load shedding as well as the positive EAF trajectory are the real signs that there is some improvement in the performance of the generation fleet. The focus remains on sustaining this trajectory.”

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