Ramokgopa confident load shedding will be less severe this winter as maintenance is ramped up

Electricity minister said that industries and households seem to have reduced their electricity consumption.

Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa on Sunday spoke about government’s efforts to tackle load shedding and highlighted the steps being taken to improve winter maintenance.

Ramokgopa outlined two primary focus areas for the government.

ALSO READ: Less load shedding good news, but Eskom will have to play catch-up on maintenance

The first objective is to reduce the intensity of load shedding by gradually decreasing its stages and ultimately eliminating it altogether.

The second objective is to reduce the frequency of load shedding, aiming to decrease the number of days the country experiences the power cuts.

Escalating days of load shedding

Ramokgopa expressed concern over the escalating number of load shedding days in recent years. In 2021, there were approximately 75 days of load shedding, which tripled to about 205 days in 2022.

However, the minister assured the public that positive results were starting to emerge.

He said that despite South Africa projected to need around 34 000 megawatts during winter (with the country only producing around 28 000MW at the time), the country so far has not been required to reach such high levels, indicating a positive change in consumption patterns.

“The collective efforts of citizens and businesses to manage their electricity demand have shown promising results,” Ramokgopa said.

Available capacity

The minister also demonstrated the progress made in increasing electricity capacity.

“The available capacity has plateaued at approximately 29 000MW, with improvements observed since 26 June. The week concluded with a capacity of 29 918MW, reflecting an increase of about 1 300MW,” he said.

Ramokgopa said the increased capacity allows for a higher level of planned outages.

“This strategy is crucial for ensuring the reliability of the units when they are returned to the grid. By maintaining a philosophy of meticulous maintenance, the government aims to eradicate load shedding entirely,” he said.

READ MORE: Stage 16 could mean ‘more than a day’ in the dark

The electricity minister also highlighted the need to address partial load losses, which occur when units operate below their optimal capacity.

These losses contribute to a significant reduction in overall capacity. He said efforts are underway to address the various factors causing these partial load losses.

By the end of June, the capacity in this area had improved to 13 681MW from 16 400MW.

Load shedding

The country is currently on stage 3 load shedding after Eskom announced it will be implemented the rolling blackouts at 4pm on Sunday.

Stage 3 is expected to remain in force until midnight.

“This pattern will be repeated daily until further notice. Eskom will publish another update should any significant changes occur,’ the power utility said.

According to Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, load shedding costs the country an estimated R1 billion a day.

NOW READ: ‘Government working to shield hospitals from load shedding’ – Ramokgopa

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