Cape Town - Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said Eskom intended to find solutions to exempt schools, hospitals, clinics and police stations from load shedding where it was feasible.
Gordhan said Eskom was engaging the entities regarding the supply of electricity.
“Once this engagement has been completed, where possible, measures will be implemented to mitigate the impact of load shedding as far as practically possible,” he said.
He was responding to oral questions in the National Assembly from IFP MP Mzamo Buthelezi, when he asked whether Eskom intended to implement a policy provision that would exempt schools, hospitals, clinics and police stations from load shedding.
Buthelezi also asked why Eskom was appealing against the high court order that the facilities be exempted within 60 days.
Gordhan said Eskom was currently exempting more than 70 public health facilities, and 200 more were earmarked. He told the MPs that Eskom conducted preliminary assessments to establish dedicated feeders to critical infrastructure.
“This assessment has been shared with relevant departments, and implementation is under discussion with those departments. The implementation time frame is envisaged in the next 12 to 24 months after investment decisions and depending on the type of solution, and other factors such as environmental approvals and land acquisition.”
Gordhan said Eskom would collaborate with the departments in the implementation of the court order as and when required.
“The department with the government is appealing against the judgement of the high court relating to load shedding to critical infrastructure. Eskom awaits judicial outcome and it has engaged the relevant departments regarding the points of supply within Eskom’s supply areas to find practical solutions.”
Earlier, Gordhan was asked about the detailed interventions that he and the leadership of Eskom had made to prevent a total collapse of the grid. In his response, the minister said Eskom had 28 000km of high voltage lines in the transmission system and another 325 000km of low voltage to homes and businesses.
“The system operator ensures that stability of the national electricity grid is always maintained, and it has a forecast capability how much electricity will be used every hour, every day, and forecast for the day ahead and for sufficient generation capacity can made available and deal with contingency that may arise by using the turbines to maintain the balance.
“Should the energy generation be not sufficient the systems operator is able to interrupt large customers for periods of time. There are other mechanisms available.”