President Cyril Ramaphosa is holding extensive consultations with various stakeholders in order to address the country’s dire energy crisis.
Last Sunday, he met with political party leaders, the National Energy Crisis Committee, and the Eskom board.
The Presidency is cautiously optimistic that there will be load reduction in the next coming days. Ramaphosa cancelled his trip to Davos and met with opposition party leaders to discuss the pressing issues confronting the struggling power utility.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Vincent Magwenya, another meeting with members of all three levels of government, from national to municipal, is planned.
“Later on today, he will meet with the President’s Coordinating Council which is made up of premiers, executive mayors and ministers. And really, the purpose of this work is informed by the fact that all parts of society need to work together if we were to overcome this crisis. The President, parallel to these meetings, has been receiving daily briefings from Eskom on the work they are doing to improve the performance of the power stations and the government is driving more to bring more capacity as soon as possible.”
President Ramaphosa engages with different stakeholders to address SA’s severe energy crisis:
But an energy expert says these are some of the problems that plague the ailing power utility.
Renewable Energy expert Dave Long says, “They’ve got the biggest chance of turning their equipment around so that the 85% or the 90% becomes 90% or 95% that will solve the load shedding, but it’s going the other way. The factor is called the equipment availability factor. It was originally planned to be at the 75% level, which means 75% of the power generation as available would be running at one time. So in December, it dropped below 50%. So that that’s the third worse, that means a third of the power stations that you expect to be running are not running, so that’s where their crisis is and in my books must be fixed.”
Some parties have called on the President as well as Ministers responsible for energy to resign over the crisis but the Presidency says this should not be used for political mudslinging.
“We do expect and welcome the intense public debate on load shedding. However, attempts by some to politicise this crisis are not helpful. However, we need to direct our energy to solve this crisis.”
Meanwhile, several organisations plan to take Eskom to court over load shedding.
Electricity tariff increase
Meanwhile, scores of Pretoria residents and businesses say they fully support any protest calling for the reversal of the more than 18% electricity tariff increase granted to Eskom by NERSA last week.
Angry supporters of the lobby group NOTIMYNAME International marched to the NERSA offices and the Presidency at Pretoria’s Union Buildings on Friday.
They’re demanding an immediate end to the ongoing Eskom rolling blackouts and have given NERSA 21 working days to give in to their demands.
77-year-old pensioner Nelson Baloyi from Soshanguve says, “Some of our appliances if we forget to switch them off when the lights come back they burn up. So, there’s nobody that is going to pay you for that. I’m a pensioner and I now have to go and ask for help. So the government must do something because there’s a lot of money that got lost. Millions and millions so don’t they go get that money.” -Additional reporting by Natasha Phiri