Load shedding is here to stay 

By Karabo Rammutla

We’re going to get power cuts for at least two more years.

Eskom’s board chairperson, Mpho Makwana, announced this news on Sunday morning.

Makwana has warned that it will take at least two years to get Eskom’s broken power plants to a “perfectly desirable” energy availability factor.

Eskom was briefing the media on Sunday, a day after the National Energy Crisis Committee (Necom), charged with finding solutions to the power crisis, released a six-month progress update on the implementation of the government’s Energy Action Plan.

The country has been plunged into rolling blackouts since last year.

Makwana also signalled that South Africans can expect regular rolling blackouts of stages one to three for the next two years.

Makwana said the new board has had to hit the ground running at Eskom and has placed Necom’s priorities at the forefront.

“Since taking office 112 days ago, the Eskom board has met about 50 times,” Makwana said. “The plant performance recovery plan will be driven vigorously and through an external project management company – which will ensure that we are able to constantly monitor and execute the recovery plan.”

However, “the reality is that the recovery of the Eskom coal fleet will not be achieved within a short term.”

He said the key levers to success of the recovery is the fixing of systematic issues that are troubling Eskom related to leadership, its organisational culture and poor internal controls.

Outgoing Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said Eskom is advertising for private power projects to come on board.

Meanwhile, De Ruyter said, Kusile power station’s unit 5 is expected to be synchronised to the grid in July and add 700 MW; Medupi 4 is due to return to service in September next year and Koeberg unit 1 is expected back in June.

De Ruyter said during winter, planned maintenance will be ramped down.

Although “capacity will remain constrained for pretty much the whole of 2023, there is already an estimated 9200 MW of embedded generation projects in the pipeline. When these are added to the grid, we will see a meaningful difference made to the supply situation.”

Makwana, in closing, issued a plea for corporates, government and municipal offices to install rooftop solar panels.

Pictured Above: Woman lighting a Candle paraffin light after a powercut

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