Load-shedding set SA’s economy back R25bn in two weeks — David Maynier

11 June 2021 - 11:30 By unathi nkanjeni
Rolling power cuts hit the economy hard every time the lights go out. Stock photo.
Rolling power cuts hit the economy hard every time the lights go out. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF / beercrafter

Eskom’s on-and-off load-shedding has cost SA’s economy about R25bn over the last two weeks.

This is according to the Western Cape’s minister of finance and economic opportunities David Maynier. 

On Thursday, Maynier welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act will be amended to increase the licensing threshold for embedded generation projects from 1MW to 100MW.

Ramaphosa said this will help boost the economy and reduce the impact of load-shedding and companies will be allowed to sell the excess power to the national grid.

Maynier said load-shedding was costing the economy about R500m per stage per day, and costing the Western Cape economy R75m per stage per day. 

“In the last two weeks, it has cost the country’s economy about R25bn, and the Western Cape about R3.85bn,” he said. 

“We need to urgently finalise schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act and clarify which categories of projects are covered by the relaxation and ensure the permitting and registration requirements do not become another regulatory spiderweb causing unnecessary delays in the delivery of additional energy supply in SA.”

He said the country remains in an energy crisis and large-scale private sector participation in energy generation, in partnership with government, will be key to addressing the current shortfall in the Western Cape. 

“This is a positive move that will give much-needed certainty to investors and increase access to affordable, renewable energy in SA.”

According to data shared by EskomSePush, Eskom has implemented more than 559 hours of stages 1, 2 and 3 load-shedding in the first half of 2021.

It is believed SA could be on course to have the highest number of hours of blackouts since 2015, which was 1,374 hours. 

According to Eskom, stage 2 load-shedding will be implemented until 10pm on Sunday due to continued delays in returning generation units to service at Kusile, Tutuka, Duvha, Kendal and Koeberg power stations.

“The emergency generation reserves have been used extensively in the past days to avoid load-shedding during the day. This has resulted in these being depleted and reducing available capacity,” Eskom said.

“It is therefore necessary to implement load-shedding continuously to replenish the emergency reserves.”