Eskom Considering Making Loadshedding Permanent



On Sunday morning, South Africans awoke to the news that Eskom increased Loadshedding to Stage 6. This announcement meant that millions of people will be spending more time in the dark.




Stage 6 loadshedding reduced 6000 MW of power from the national grid. This will see South Africans without electricity for 10 hours per day. Alternatively, this means that they will be without electricity for four hours, for 18 times over a 4 day period. 

In an emergency media briefing on Sunday morning, Eskom CEO Andre Deruyter revealed the power utility has considered introducing stage 2 loadshedding on a permanent basis. 

While Eskom has decided against this, they believe it would reduce the pressure on the national grid and allow them to carry out their planned maintenance programme. 

Planned maintenance of generation units also contributes to loadshedding as they cannot contribute energy to the national grid while they are being serviced. 

The normalisation of loadshedding would be to give us the headroom to carry out maintenance which we are already doing. 

Deruyter added that Stage 6 was on Sunday to allow Eskom to build up their energy reserves.

They explained, “The system has been under severe pressure over the past week and this has caused us to run our reserves very hard. We are in a situation where we urgently need to replenish these reserves in order to maintain an adequate safety buffer.”

Eskom has already burnt through R7.7 billion worth of Diesel. This was the entire budgetary allocation for the purchase of diesel for the year. They have since made R500 million available for the purchase of diesel.

The power utility was also criticised after they proposed a 32% tariff hike for electricity for 2023.

Energy analyst Chris Yelland says the power situation in the country is getting worse and will continue on a downward trend unless solutions are found.

One of the potential solutions to the energy crises would be introducing additional generation capacity to the national grid. However, this cannot happen overnight and projects to build more power stations take several years to complete.

The latest additions to South Africa’s power station fleet, Medupi power station and Kusile power station, took more than 10 years before they began contributing to the national grid. However, design defects at these power stations are expected to take until 2027 to fully rectify.

Yelland believes that customers of electricity must be encouraged and incentivised for generating their own power. This would help solve the country’s electricity crisis. 

They point to Vietnam which introduced more than 9 000 MW of electricity through the installation of rooftop solar panels in one year.

So far in 2022, South Africans have spent 68 days in the dark as they faced more than 1,600 hours of loadshedding. 





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