Load shedding could be over by the end of next week: De Ruyter

 ·16 Jul 2022

South Africa could see the end of rolling blackouts by end of next week according to Eskom chief executive officer, Andre de Ruyter.

Speaking to Reuters on Saturday (16 July), de Ruyter said that the national power utility has seen more generation units returning to operation.

Towards the end of the coming week, we should emerge from load shedding,” said de Ruyter at a walking tour of the Tutuka power station accompanied by president Cyril Ramaphosa.

“We’ve already lifted our indication for load shedding going forward; we’ve got a couple of big units returning, so that’s positive news,” he added. De Ruyter said Eskom expects load shedding to become less likely by the end of the month as the troubled nuclear plant Koeberg 2 comes back online.

The power station is set to provide a necessary 920 MW to the national grid; however, de Ruyter added that to curb load shedding for good, additional capacity is still required as the system is currently unreliable and unpredictable.

South Africa has experienced an uptick in load shedding in recent weeks, but has moved back to an evening-only schedule this weekend.

Ramaphosa told journalists that he had met with various managers from different power stations to get further insight into the problems faced.

Frequent outages have caused the economy to underperform by 40%, finance minister Enoch Godongwana said Thursday. Its high-debt burden has also been a strain on the nation’s coffers, Bloomberg reported.

Blackouts continue to affect economic development across the country and public finances, with the government guaranteeing as much as R350 billion of its debt, said Ramaphosa.

To combat the extended period of low energy capacity, the ruling party ANC proposed the formation of a second state power utility to challenge Eskom’s monopoly. Ramaphosa added that the creation of a new energy-producing system would assist in alleviating the risk posed by the failings of the current system.

“If we look at other countries like China, it has a number of state-owned electricity generating companies that compete amongst themselves to bring prices down,” Ramaphosa said in a speech to a meeting of the South African Communist Party on Friday. “That is a future that we should begin to imagine.”

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