“Stage 6 is largely on account of ramping up planned maintenance and unplanned capacity loss,” he said in an urgent media briefing to explain the reasons behind the increase in load shedding stages.
The country was plunged into Stage 6 load shedding from Tuesday morning until further notice.
Ramokgopa said they have ramped up planned maintenance “to build a degree of resilience in the system”.
However, Ramokgopa said that while planned maintenance took place over the weekend, on Sunday some units experienced issues resulting in the need for the increased stage of load shedding.
He added that the load shedding stages should be reduced by the end of the week.
Ramokgopa explained that maintenance was carried out in two ways:
1. Delay planned maintenance and continue to run the system, resulting in lower stages of load shedding. However, this will result in major deterioration of the units and could result in longer periods of shutdown.
2. Continue rigidly with planned maintenance that would produce greater levels of resilience in the units, however, this would mean the intensification of load shedding.
“We are where we are now because we are sticking to our planned maintenance,” he said.
“But the planned maintenance just happened to coincide with units also failing over the last few days which exacerbated the situation.”
Ramokgopa said they were not able to stick with their planned maintenance schedule previously as Eskom was cash-strapped and the country was heading into winter.
Now, National Treasury has pumped R254 Billion into the power utility on condition that maintenance took priority.
“We also did curb planed maintenance during winter as our load shedding was not as severe as anticipated. Now that we are in the warmer days, demand has reduced and so we can continue to ramp up planned maintenance,” Ramokgopa said.
“These are the pains we have to suffer to ensure load shedding is behind us for good soon,” he said.