Eskom warns that after 73 days more load shedding is to come

270308. Eskom and Load shedding... An early morning picture taken at Matla Power Station in Mpumalanga Province. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

270308. Eskom and Load shedding... An early morning picture taken at Matla Power Station in Mpumalanga Province. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Published Jul 12, 2022


Eskom has advised South Africans to brace for another week of power cuts due to a significant backlog in maintenance of its ageing coal-fired power plants following a 2-week strike by workers over wage increases.

The struggling power utility yesterday (MON) said it continued to have a shortfall in generation capacity, and thus will implement up to Stage 4 load shedding throughout the week, and lower it to Stage 2 around the clock at the weekend.

South Africa has already experienced 73 days of load shedding since the start of 2022

Eskom chief executive Andre de Ruyter said it will take weeks for the national grid to be restored to function optimally as the system was unreliable and unpredictable at the moment.

“This is not the news you want to hear, you want to have an end to load shedding sooner. Unfortunately, due to the unlawful strike, we have suffered significant backlogs in maintenance and we had to operate the plants under conditions that are less than ideal.

“We therefore, will take a number of weeks to fully recover from the strike. I can give you the assurance that our colleagues are working extraordinarily hard to recover from the effects of the strike.”

Eskom currently has a very high unplanned outage of 9 097MW.

Eskom chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer, said that 6 power stations were impacted by the industrial action as no routine maintenance was performed at these stations during the strike.

“The Matla and Duvha stations will require time to recover, in particular. Koeberg Unit 2 has further been delayed and now only expected to return by the end of the month,” Oberholzer said.

“Eskom’s intention is to lift load shedding in 10 days time, however, large risks remain due to the unpredictability and unreliability of the system.”

South Africa’s economy is currently facing strong headwinds with the rising cost of living and the world’s highest rate of unemployment, with the energy crisis adding another threat to economic growth and investment.

President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday said the government had already taken several important actions to address the shortfall in electricity supply.

Ramaphosa highlighted the 33 000 hectares of land made available by Eskom next to existing power stations for private investment in 18 renewable energy projects, to add 1 800 MW of generation capacity to the grid as one of those measures.

“While these actions are significant and will bear fruit over the coming months, they are clearly not enough to address the crisis that we face,” he said.

“Over the past two weeks, we have been working with the relevant Ministers and senior officials on a range of additional measures to accelerate all efforts to increase our electricity supply.”

Meanwhile, the National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has written to the Leader of Government Business and Deputy President David Mabuza requesting that Parliament be kept abreast of Executive interventions to deal with the energy crisis.

Mapisa-Nqakula raised concern that the constant power outages imposed untold hardships on the citizens of the country, and hamstrung business and production.