Presidency says prospects of more load shedding ‘deeply disheartening’November 20, 2022
The Presidency has insisted that there’s some progression towards improving Eskom’s current situation, with the country currently experiencing Stage 4 load shedding.
On Sunday afternoon, Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said President Cyril Ramaphosa has noted the impact of power cuts on the country.
“I think the president has been quite open about accepting the devastating nature of load shedding… not only to households, but to businesses, to the economy and to jobs.
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“This year alone we have had about 162 days of power cuts making it the year of load shedding to date,” he said during a media briefing.
Magwenya pointed out that it would take time for Eskom to return generation units at its power stations to service and for new sources of capacity including from private generators to come online.
“As I have stated for households [and] businesses that have been badly affected by the intermittent power supply, the prospects of more load shedding is deeply disheartening. It is difficult at times to remain optimistic when the results of our actions are not felt immediately.”
Energy response plan
He said the energy response plan announced by Ramaphosa four months ago was already being rolled out.
“We must say there is a range of initiatives that are already underway that will make load shedding a thing of the past. In July this year, the president announced additional measures to tackle load shedding by improving the performance of Eskom’s power stations and adding new capacity to the grid in the fastest possible time.
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“Over the past three months, those measures have been overseen by the national energy crisis committee which is coordinating a plan of action across government,” Magwenya continued.
In September, Eskom enlisted the help of 18 former employees and experts to assist in the execution of its power plant operations.
“This skilled personnel will work closely with permanent Eskom teams and transfer their skills,” the Presidency spokesperson further said.
Eskom also launched three power purchase programmes that will see it procuring 1 000 megawatts (MW) of power for the national grid on an expedited basis.
With a special law enforcement team having been set up to tackle sabotage, theft and corruption, Magwenya revealed that 67 cases were currently before the courts.
Three of these cases have been finalised with convictions.
“Just this week, a contractor working at the Camden Power Station was arrested for an incident of sabotage aimed at securing more maintenance and repair jobs for his company.”
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He added that Eskom’s new board has formed a committee tasked to improve plant performance, among other things.
“These and other measures will stabilise the performance of the existing fleet and lead to an improvement in the reliability of the coming months. So there’s work underway to improve the situation at Eskom and to get the country into stage where we will have reliable power supply,” he concluded.
Stage 4 load shedding was implemented at 5pm on Sunday and will run until 4pm on Monday.
According to Eskom, Stage 5 load shedding will then be in place during the evening (between 4pm and midnight) from Monday to Wednesday.
“Load shedding will vary between Stage 2 and 4 during the day until Wednesday,” Eskom said in a statement on Sunday.