Eskom chief executive officer Andre de Ruyter says that South Africans should expect more load shedding as the embattled power utility revises its current maintenance plans.
Presenting a system status briefing on Friday (31 January), De Ruyter indicated that the blackouts would be more strictly planned as maintenance becomes more regular.
“Instead of deferring maintenance we intend to return to the cycle of maintaining our plants as per the original manufacturer’s guidelines.
“This is not unusual, but I think in the past we neglected to perform scheduled maintenance as required, and those legacies are now clearly coming home and causing us to have unreliable equipment.
“This will result in an increased probability of load shedding over the medium-term (18 months) as we fix the system.”
De Ruyter said that this process is going to be ‘very carefully planned’ and will include the buying of electricity from entities that have excess electricity.
He said that Eskom would also increase its demand management efforts – including the return of ‘traffic light system’ which will broadcast the severity of Eskom’s power issues to television viewers.
“We will, unfortunately, have an increase in load shedding. We are going to have to do this in a structured, careful, managed way,” he said.
“If we don’t implement this maintenance plan there is a very real risk that the deterioration of our system will continue. So we need urgent intervention. ”
— Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA) January 31, 2020
Eskom announced on Friday that stage 2 load shedding will continue until 06h00 on Monday morning (3 February).
Eskom said the power cuts were due to a shortage of capacity and the depletion of emergency resources which were used to supplement supply over the last couple of days.
According to experts, load shedding is expected to continue for the next two to three years at the very least, as Eskom moves to build new capacity and government clears the way for independent producers to get on the grid.
Energy expert and EE Business Intelligence MD Chris Yelland has stated that the outlook for load-shedding in February, March, and April “looks bleak”.
Yelland made the statement on Twitter, referencing electricity demand and production forecasts for the months ahead.
“Lots of orange and red. Meaning Eskom running its emergency generation reserves (OCGTs and pumped storage) hard and at high cost, with likelihood of load-shedding,” said Yelland.
The outlook for loadshedding in February, March and April 2020 looks bleak: lots of orange and red. Meaning Eskom running its emergency generation reserves (OCGTs and pumped storage) hard and at high cost, with likelihood of load shedding. pic.twitter.com/8Gf2oVhEb3
— Chris Yelland (@chrisyelland) January 31, 2020