Eskom: We’re under severe pressure, SA advised to reduce electricity usage

Though South Africans have felt a slight reprieve with rolling blackouts coming to a halt in the last two months, Eskom has confirmed that this is temporary as the grid is still under pressure.

The state utility provided an update during the week, advising the country to reduce electricity usage as much as possible. Eskom CEO André de Ruyter has submitted a deadline of September 2021 for the significant reduction of loadshedding.

De Ruyter has also said progress was being made with the company’s maintenance schedule and repairs at its facilities across the country.

While there was no mention of potential load-shedding by Eskom, a warning is typically a precursor to power cuts. It is currently not clear why the system is under pressure and whether unexpected breakdowns are to blame.

If load-shedding is implemented, it will not come as a surprise. Last month Eskom said it expects power constraints to persist for at least the next year.

The power producer added that load shedding may extend into 2022 depending on the pressure on the system.

Other experts, however, expect the situation to be much worse than what Eskom is predicting.

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Research by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) warned that South Africa should brace itself for exponential increases to load-shedding until 2022.

“Not only will load-shedding continue over the next few years – it will get significantly worse,” said Dr Jarrad Wright and Joanne Calitz of the CSIR.

Energy expert Ted Blom, in turn, said South Africa could be stuck with load-shedding until at least 2025 due to Eskom’s continued problems.

He expects load-shedding to get worse over the next year as there are still “turf wars” and corruption taking place inside Eskom, resulting in inadequate maintenance and major shortfalls in the quality of the maintenance.

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