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‘There’s a lot of energy that is not used’: Mantashe criticises Eskom as load-shedding continues

23 May 2022 - 09:18
Minister of mineral resources and energy Gwede Mantashe says Eskom has enough electricity reserves. File photo.
Minister of mineral resources and energy Gwede Mantashe says Eskom has enough electricity reserves. File photo.
Image: Ntswe Mokoena/ File photo

Mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe has criticised Eskom’s management, saying he doesn’t understand why the power utility is resorting to load-shedding when it allegedly has enough electricity in its reserves. 

This comes after Eskom announced load-shedding would be reduced to stage 2 from 8am to 4pm on Sunday and revert to stage 3 from 4pm to 10pm.

It blamed the blackouts on ongoing generator breakdowns and sabotage, saying 14,992MW of capacity was unavailable due to breakdowns.

Speaking on eNCA, Mantashe said Eskom should be using more of its reserve capacity. 

According to him, the power utility has access to about 6,000MW of extra reserve capacity that could be used to avoid load-shedding.

“I hear this 6,000MW but I know Eskom is having 45,000MW connected capacity. It operates at 30,000MW. Therefore, the shortfall of 15,000MW is on the suboptimal operation of Eskom,” Mantashe said.

“As we implement the supplementary programme to boost generation, Eskom can also be optimised. They have 15,000MW that is idle. There is a lot of energy that is not used because of one reason or another,” he said. 

LISTEN | Unpacking Eskom's Medupi power station explosion 

In a statement, Eskom said it will implement stage 2 load-shedding all week during peak evening hours from 5pm to 10pm.

It said this was due to the continued shortage of generation capacity it has been experiencing

“While there may be instances where load-shedding might need to be implemented outside these hours, as far as possible Eskom will endeavour to limit the implementation of load-shedding to the evening peak to limit the impact of capacity shortages on the public,” it said.

“Eskom will continue to closely monitor the system, adjust and communicate any changes as may be necessary. We appeal to all South Africans to help limit the impact of load-shedding by reducing the use of electricity and to switch off all non-essential items.”

Eskom said the ongoing blackouts were to protect the national grid from collapsing.

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