Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter says the power utility will reduce load shedding to Stage 2 today and he expects load shedding to be completely lifted by Friday morning.
He was briefing the media following a week which has seen the power utility implement the more serious Stage 4 load shedding – leaving households without power for longer or for multiple times throughout the day.
De Ruyter said the power system had recovered sufficiently to reduce load shedding.
“This good recovery in the system has enabled us to reduce load shedding to Stage 2 from Stage 3 currently at [midday] today. We will maintain Stage 2 until 5am on Friday morning and we will then be in a position to lift load shedding as by then the system would have sufficiently recovered that we can continue to operate and meet normal demand,” he said.
De Ruyter admitted that although the system recovery is going well, Eskom may have to stick to load shedding into the foreseeable future.
“Given where we are and with the well-known challenges that we face on our coal fired generation, a guarantee that there will be no load shedding is not something that I think we should consider giving at this point in time,” he said.
The CEO implored South Africans to use electricity wisely as this could help the country avoid frequent and severe load shedding.
“We have about 14 million households in South Africa so if we all play a part we can really make a difference.
“If all households were to switch off at least one unnecessary light, that would save about 835MW. That’s a huge number which is more than one [generating] unit at a big power station like Medupi that can be save by just switching off one unnecessary light,” he said.
The CEO added that to save more electricity, South Africans can also switch off pool pumps an hour earlier, exchange their halogen light bulbs for energy efficient bulbs and switch off geysers over evening peaks.
“If you add up all these interventions that will save up a total of 2849MW which is the equivalent of the output of one of our power stations or equivalent to the consumption of a large city like Tshwane.
“It goes to show that small actions…really can make a difference to manage our system better,” he said.
De Ruyter revealed that the power utility is engaging National Treasury to address Eskom’s financial problems and its consequent inability to procure spares for repairs to its power stations.
“[W]e run the risk of becoming muscle bound with governance and we should look at a system which still maintains adequate control and accountability over public money. We understand that we have a responsibility to spend public money wisely bearing in mind that some of the most egregious abuses of public money took place while the PFMA was in place at Eskom.
“So we are in discussions with National Treasury to find if there are ways to expedite this and in order to make sure that collectively we have the necessary sense of urgency…in dealing with these applications because these challenges do have a bearing on the duration of load shedding and therefore they have a significant economic impact.” – SAnews
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