Cold weather expected to put strain on South Africa’s power grid this week: Eskom

Eskom has requested the public to reduce the usage of electricity as the South African Weather Service warns of adverse weather conditions.

The power utility said that its system is currently performing relatively well, and is not expecting to implement load shedding at this point.

It added that it has not had to implement power cuts since 13 June as it has seen some improvement in the performance of its generation fleet.

“However, the cold front will increase the demand for electricity thereby putting pressure on the power system.

“Therefore Eskom urges the people of South Africa to help reduce electricity usage in order to ease the pressure on the system.”

Eskom said it will communicate promptly should there be any significant changes to the performance of the system.

The South African Weather Service has warned that a succession of cold fronts is expected to sweep across the country this week, going into the weekend.

Data published by professional services firm PwC this week shows that load shedding will halve GDP growth this year and cost the country 275,000 in potential jobs.

The group said that South Africa experienced 859 hours of load-shedding in 2020.

“According to PwC’s calculations, this cost the country an estimated R75 billion in lost GDP and an additional 450,000 in job losses. Put differently, last year’s 7% decline in real GDP could have been limited to around 4.7% were it not for Eskom power delivery failures.”

In recent months, PwC said that its baseline scenario included an assumption that the economy will face a similar volume of load shedding hours this year compared to 2020.

“This assumption still appears valid: electricity outages totalled 560 hours in H1 2021 which was close to the 576 hours recorded in the first half of last year.

“While a notable proportion of the recent power outages were experienced outside of business hours, the number of load-shedding hours in H1 2021 can be equated to the loss of 70 (eight-hour) working days.”

PwC estimates that load shedding will reduce real GDP growth by 2.3 percentage points in 2021. This could cost the country 275,000 in potential jobs.

“In other words, if South Africa did not experience, load shedding, real GDP growth could have been 4.6% under our baseline scenario, with up to 565,000 jobs recovered.”

Read: Shock load shedding data for South Africa

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Cold weather expected to put strain on South Africa’s power grid this week: Eskom