The number of hospitals excluded from load shedding across the country has now increased from 37 to 72 since the last public announcement by Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, in September.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health said more efforts are being made to implement the exemption of health facilities in the Northern Cape and North West as a matter of urgency, in line with the commitment made to ensure that no province is left behind.
According to the department’s updated list on Thursday, 17 hospitals are located in Gauteng, 15 in KwaZulu-Natal, 14 in Free State, 10 in Limpopo, seven in the Eastern Cape, and four each in Mpumalanga and the Western Cape.
In the meantime, only one hospital is exempted in the Northern Cape, while none of the hospitals in the North West is excluded from the load shedding.
However, the department said the team led by the Director General of Health, Dr Sandile Buthelezi, and Eskom Group Executive for Distribution, Monde Bala, is currently working closely with authorities in the two provinces to provide an alternative short-to-medium solution.
The plan, according to the department, will see public health institutions such as New Bophelong Psychiatric Hospital, Bophelong Hospital, Taung Hospital, Ganyesa Hospital, Moses Kotane Hospital and Tshwaragano Hospital, being excluded from power cuts.
“This is despite the technical challenges experienced, which include the current electricity configuration of the networks in most areas in which some of the hospitals are found to be deeply embedded within networks, which makes it difficult to immediately isolate them.”
However, the team is investigating possible load curtailment for big hospitals, as well as other alternative solutions.
According to the department, this exercise is part of government efforts to mitigate the impact of power outages on the national provision of essential health services.
The department said it has furnished the State-owned entity with 212 priority hospitals across the country to be considered for possible exclusion from load shedding on a phased approach, of which 67% are supplied directly by municipalities, while Eskom supplies the remaining 33%.
“The preliminary network analysis revealed that 28 hospitals in various provinces can be excluded from load shedding by building new infrastructure at the estimated cost of R100 million.”