Johannesburg - Electricity Minister Kgosientso Ramokgopa has promised that the end of load shedding in the country may be on the horizon sooner rather than later.
Ramokgopa was speaking during a briefing in Pretoria, providing an update on the implementation of the Energy Action Plan instituted to map out long-term solutions to the load shedding crisis.
The minister explained that through the collaborative efforts of more than 100 private sector players, they had managed to make huge strides in addressing the challenges experienced by the sector.
To date, he said they were pleased to announce that they had achieved the president's first assignment, to reduce the intensity of load shedding. He said even though the second assignment, namely reducing the frequency of load shedding, had not been achieved as they had yet to witness a 24-hour period of uninterrupted electricity supply, they would not take short cuts in reaching that milestone.
"In some instances, we have had the opportunity to run the open-cycle gas turbines, and then there would be no load shedding, but we will do it the right way so that when we come out of this, we are confident that we have resolved load shedding.
"I said when I started this assignment that we will resolve this load shedding, and I think that we will resolve it much quicker than we had anticipated. I don't give dates, I give the megawatts; it's for you to determine when the date is, but I think it is on the horizon," Ramokgopa added.
The energy minister further explained that although the government had been criticised for not having a plan to resolve the load-shedding crisis, it had stayed the course and was in the beginning stages of seeing the fruits of its labour.
In doing so, it had managed to improve generation capacity, enabling it to have additional space to do much-needed planned maintenance.
Kgosientso said that as the country entered winter, they had planned to drastically reduce planned maintenance and ensure as many units as possible were available at any given time to generate the megawatts needed.
In some instances, he said, they had been able to produce double what was required, which was testimony to the fact that recovery was sustainable and enduring. Another positive, he added, was the degree to which Eskom was able to reduce the number of trips and partial load losses.
"The improvements you are seeing are not an act of God; these are people at work doing everything possible to make sure that we are able to resolve this energy crisis."