Minister in the Presidency responsible for Electricity Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said on Sunday that stage 6 load shedding will likely ease down by Wednesday, after around nine power stations suffered boiler tube challenges.
The Minister was speaking during a media briefing on Sunday.
Ramokgopa said that since stage 6 was introduced this weekend, two of the power stations that contributed to the descent were brought back online.
The stations that were brought back online included one at Lethabo Power Station and one at Kriel.
Nine units failed over the course of two days, meaning the country’s grid suffered a loss of 4,400 megawatts, plunging it into stage 6 load shedding at the weekend, the Minister indicated.
Eskom could have eased down the intensity but Ramokgopa said it was a necessary pain to suffer, as units under maintenance provide long term relief.
“The other units that contributed to the total loss will be brought back online by this week. We can expect to see some difference by Tuesday or Wednesday.
“The nine units that failed did so because of boiler tube leaks.
“This is a problem we have spoken about before. We now have the proper teams on it to ensure that this problem is fixed,” the Minister said.
He said boiler tube leaks have been identified as a major problem area that needs attention from the appropriate personnel.
For the first time in around three months, South Africa descended to stage 6 load shedding at the weekend, and according to the Minister, it was a calculated risk to leave it there.
By not reducing the intensity of load shedding, the units that were already under maintenance could stay there and be in better form when brought back online, Ramokgopa explained.
“With the approach that we are taking when it comes to ending load shedding, we have identified some inherent risks, one of them being ramping up load shedding to deal with planned maintenance,” the Minister said.
“Stage 6 load shedding is an outlier,” he added.
As President Cyril Ramaphosa unveiled the government's elaborate plan to solve the country’s energy crisis during his State of the Nation Address on Thursday, statistics show that South Africa endured 332 days of load shedding during 2023.
But Ramaphosa said the worst was behind us, and that “an end” is within reach.
The President said progress has been made through the National Energy Crisis Committee's efforts, including more private investment to add new power onto the grid.