Power utility Eskom is expected to lower rolling blackouts to stage 3 until Monday morning. This comes after it ramped up rolling blackout stages to stage 6 a week ago, costing the economy an estimated R4 billion a day.
Despite the expectation of lowered stages, the utility says the capacity constraints will persist for a while.
According to Eskom, this weekend’s blackouts were used to replenish the pumped storage dam levels, which were utilised extensively over the past week. In its last update, it said it’s experiencing constraints from its diesel suppliers that are affecting the availability of bulk diesel to the Ankerlig and Gourikwa Open Cycle Gas Turbines, which have a combined capacity of 2 000MW.
It warned that should these persist, higher stages of rolling blackouts may be required.
“A further reduction to stage 3 will be implemented until 5 am on Monday morning. The capacity constraints will continue throughout next week and current indications are that loadshedding will be implemented at stage 3 for most of next week”, says Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha.
Meanwhile, according to reports, the Eskom board may be restructured this week following a cabinet meeting.
Plan for continuous stage 2, 19 September 2022:
Former President Thabo Mbeki has questioned why the energy crisis in the country is not being addressed effectively. He also added his voice to those asking if the answer doesn’t lie in placing engineers and economists in the leadership of Eskom.
“Why do we seem to be incapable-as a country that is- incapable of addressing this matter effectively?”
“Is it an issue that Pali Lehohla is raising? Let’s put engineers and economists as the leadership of Eskom, maybe that is the answer. But I’m saying it going to come from the kind of leadership that we need”, says Mbeki.
Agri SA has called on government to declare the agriculture industry an essential service to ensure the country’s farming operations and food supply chain are not disrupted during rolling blackouts.
The agricultural industry association says it’s approached Eskom for talks – warning that the current energy crisis may have implications for food security next year.
Threat to food security,24 September 2022:
At the same time, Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) warns that the economic damage of the ongoing blackouts is severe, calling for an immediate intervention to deal with the crisis and to at least manage it better.
BUSA has been urging government to urgently implement identified priority interventions. It says the second quarter’s 0.7% decline in the economy was mostly caused by the continued blackouts, which have made this year the worst on record.
It says government needs to move urgently to enable ESKOM to purchase power from all available resources and to step up repairs to plants.
It also wants the utility to fill vacancies on the ESKOM board and be more granular and detailed on exactly what is causing frequent load shedding.
Rolling Blackout implact on small business, 18 September 2022: