Load-shedding resumes on Monday

11 February 2019 - 07:51
By Nico Gous
Image: Reuters/Tim Wimborne

Stage 2 load-shedding will continue on Monday from 9am to 10pm.

“Although a number of generating units have returned to service as per the 9-point recovery plan, regrettably additional units continue to trip. This results in a shortage of generating capacity,” Eskom said.

“Customers are reminded to treat all electrical points as live during load-shedding.”

The power utility started with stage 2 load-shedding on Sunday, two months after the last round of power cuts hit the country. And load-shedding may continue during the week.

Stage 2 calls for 2000MW to be shed from the national grid.

Eskom is in a financial and operational crisis. It is unable to service its R419bn debt from the revenue it earns. It is also straining to keep the lights on, with multiple breakdowns of its old plants due to neglected maintenance.

The return of load-shedding follows President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement in the state of the nation address on Thursday that Eskom will be remodelled and split into three state-owned entities dealing with generation, transmission and distribution.

There has also been a significant push-back from business and labour over Eskom's application for tariff increases for the next three years of 17.1%, 15.4% and 15.5%, respectively.

Eskom spokesperson Andrew Etzinger said in an interview on CapeTalk on Monday that it would be a “tough” week for consumers.

“It’s entirely Eskom’s fault and we take responsibility and apologise. The prognosis is a steady improvement, but realistically I think for much of this week, we’re going to be load-shedding.”

Etzinger said there were problems with the new power stations. “Eskom has spent more than R400-billion building new power stations, but unfortunately those power stations are not delivering reliable, consistent output at the moment, which is a huge frustration to us.”

He added that state capture had diverted resources from power generation.

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) criticised Ramaphosa's announcement during his state of the nation address that the company is to be split.

Numsa believed the move to have three separate entities - dealing with generation, transmission and distribution – would lead to unaffordable electricity tariff hikes and potential job losses.

“This is nothing more than privatisation through the back door and we reject it,” Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said in a statement. “Only an Eskom which is completely owned and controlled by the state is the best guarantee for cheap electricity.”

“The ANC and its cronies looted and destroyed Eskom and now they have identified privatisation as a convenient way to cover up for more than two decades of rampant mismanagement, looting and corruption.”