‘It is going to be a very cold winter’ – Eskom spokesperson

Energy expert Ted Blom tweeted earlier in the week that there was a shortfall of 5,136 megawatts and that Eskom is actually implementing Stage 6 load shedding to handle the shortfall. To address these allegations, BizNews founder Alec Hogg spoke to Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha. While Mantshantsha firmly denied these allegations, he did warn that ‘it is going to be a very cold winter and we are going to have to endure load shedding.’ Eskom has announced that there will be Stage 2 load shedding from today until Friday. – Nadya Swart

Sikonathi Mantshantsha on reports that Eskom CEO André de Ruyter said that load shedding will be over by September:

Let’s be real clear here. Andre would never say it will be over by September. What he has said and what Eskom continues to say is that this reliability maintenance that is underway currently, most of it will have its effects showing in the last quarter of the year starting in September. That is when you will have a significant reduction. Certainly, it will not be eliminated by that point.

On the kind of winter we should be preparing ourselves for:

It’s really unfortunate – as we have said again, religiously – that it is going to be a very cold winter and we are going to have to endure load shedding, unfortunately. Eskom is doing everything that is possible to limit any load shedding. But the reality is [that] we will keep coming to the people of South Africa and announce load shedding – as we just have this afternoon. We are implementing stage 2 for this evening. It’s quite possible that for the rest of the week we will have to implement load shedding. It is, as I have said, a dead certainty now that throughout this winter we will continue to have load shedding and we may only see some reprieve, not total elimination, during the last quarter of the year. 

On Ted Blom’s tweet that Eskom is actually implementing Stage 6 load shedding:

What is really annoying is to be spending valuable time when we could be talking to the people of South Africa about real matters that really do affect the people correctly and accurately. Ted Blom said on SAFM on Friday night [that] the basis for that allegation that he made was he ran a poll on Twitter and 50 respondents said they get a load shed more than Eskom actually announces. And he pointed at Wednesday this past week, I think it was the 3rd of June. That was the day, and he mentioned specifically Sandton and Ekurhuleni.

This was exactly on the day when CityPower, which is the agency of the municipality of the city of Johannesburg, announced to its customers in Sandton that it was having a problem distributing electricity to their areas. This was also on the day when both Eskom and the Ekurhuleni municipality made an announcement and told the residents of Ekurhuleni in the east of Gauteng that the municipality was having problems with electricity provision. So it was not a matter of load shedding. Certainly, back in the day, analysts and experts were people who actually went to work and spoke only about facts and what they have seen, not people who then would come to the radio and say; ‘It’s not me saying that, it’s the 50 people that contacted me.’

Eskom has implemented stage two load shedding. On a daily basis we communicate the production statistics which corroborate everything that we have said we would do. Uncomfortable as it is, the reality is that Eskom is having problems, big problems with regards to the provision of electricity. But what we do ask for is for analysts to be objective and to be honest. No one is enjoying implementing load shedding. Nobody, even the municipalities that were having problems in the areas that Mr Blom was talking about, they definitely are not enjoying their customers sitting without electricity, whatever the reason. And the last point I wish to make; of course, we accept that we may tell people why they do not have power. The reality is the end user does not really care. And that is something we have to live with.

On where Eskom stands on the provision of power by outsiders:

Thank you for the question. The first point to note, just for information purposes, is that in South Africa, the provision or the procurement of a new infrastructure rests solely with the Department of Minerals and Energy. That, by law, is [within] the competence of the department. Eskom itself still needs to be licensed. If it were to build a power station today, it would need a license from the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.

Now we can only contribute a view and encouragement to the policy which the department is at liberty to ignore or take as it pleases. Eskom has specifically and actively lobbied the government to increase this to 50 megawatts (the exemption). The success has even been that the state president in his State of the nation address said this is what the government was going to do. That’s what Cyril Ramaphosa announced to the country as a result of Eskom’s encouragement and as a result of Eskom’s input into the energy policy. But that’s as far as Eskom rule can go in the matter of procuring new energy.

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