The DA has accused the ANC as the governing party of having failed to curb load shedding.
In a statement on Monday, the party’s Energy spokesperson, Mike Mileham, said the publication of stage 16 draft load shedding protocols by the National Rationalised Specifications Association of SA (NRSA) was proof of this fact.
According to NRSA, under the proposed protocol, this means between 2 300 MW and 3 200 MW of power will be shed, equal to a power cut between stage 3 and stage 4 load shedding.
In a worst-case scenario, stage 16 load shedding will see a reduction of between 18 400MW and 25 600MW of non-curtailed load.
"The publication of stage 16 draft load shedding protocols by NRSA is the clearest admission yet by the ANC government that they have failed to solve the load-shedding crisis," Mileham said.
The DA said this was in contrast to "false claims" made by President Cyril Ramaphosa and Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa that they were on course to end load shedding by next year.
On Saturday, during his address following the National Working Committee meeting in Turffontein, Ramaphosa said he and Ramokgopa were working towards ending load shedding.
"We are certain that by 2024 the energy crisis will be over as we are ramping up generating more and more of energy, and now we have to attend to the transmission, so the government is not sleeping on the job, it is busy day in and day out to address the jobs crisis,” Ramaphosa said.
Mileham sad they were not convinced.
"The stage 16 load-shedding protocols are an acknowledgement that half of South Africa’s generation capacity could be wiped off at a moment’s notice, leaving the country within touching distance of a total grid collapse.
“For a government that is failing to get the basics right on the electricity front, the escalation of load-shedding protocols is hardly surprising. The deadline for returning Koeberg’s Unit 1 has been pushed to November, and Unit 2 cannot be taken offline for refurbishment while Unit 1 remains out of commission.
"As long as Koeberg continues to operate at half its capacity, with no certainty on whether its licence will be renewed in 2024, there is a significant risk that load shedding will be escalated even further," Mileham added.
It has been reported that the NRS 048-9 Electricity Supply document provides load reduction practices, system restoration practices, and critical load and essential load requirements under system emergencies.
The draft document under the title, NRS 048-9 Electricity Supply – Quality of Supply: Code of Practice has been published for public comment.
It is suggested that, after the consultation process, the document will be reworked as the NRS 048-9 Code of Practice Edition 3, which will subsequently replace the current Edition 2 standing code that Eskom’s System Operator uses to define load-shedding stages.
The biggest change in the latest version of the document is that it allows for higher stages of load shedding.
Mileham said that the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill, a key piece of legislation that would provide for the establishment of an independent entity to allow for a competitive electricity trading market, had yet to be introduced in Parliament.
Mileham said that the biggest change in the latest version of the document was that it allowed for higher stages of load shedding.
"Despite attempts to downplay the significance of the published stage 16 draft load-shedding protocols in some quarters, the NRS did confirm that the revision was made necessary ‘…because, since 2019, the performance of Eskom generation’s fleet coal-fired power stations has deteriorated to a level which may now necessitate National Central Control (NCC) and/or the system operator to institute higher levels of load shedding beyond Stage 8’. Essentially, Eskom’s power fleet is still unreliable and could shut down at short notice," Mileham said.