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POWER CRISIS

Months of ‘intensified’ rolling blackouts coming, says Ramokgopa – and we’re stuck with Stage 6 for the week

Months of ‘intensified’ rolling blackouts coming, says Ramokgopa – and we’re stuck with Stage 6 for the week
Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart)

With an increase in planned maintenance over the coming months, intense load shedding will be a ‘short-term pain’ but there will be ‘long-term gain’, says Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa.

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said on Tuesday “there will be no shortcut to the ending of load shedding”, amid rolling Stage 6 power cuts which are likely to continue for the rest of the week. 

The minister was briefing the media on the performance of the national grid on Tuesday morning, after the intensification of power cuts by Eskom

South Africa was plunged into Stage 6 blackouts on Monday evening, after an increase in planned maintenance and the breakdown of generating units led to generation capacity constraints. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: SA implements Stage 6 load shedding ‘until further notice’

Ramokgopa said Eskom had begun to ramp up planned maintenance, “to build a degree of resilience in the system”, after it had been lowered during winter due to increased demand for electricity. He said that part of the reason Eskom has seen a deterioration in generating capacity is that it had not been sticking to performing planned maintenance over the years. 

“We are going to stick to planned maintenance, we’re going to stick to philosophy maintenance. We do accept that, in the short-term, it’s going to result in the possibility of intensified load shedding. 

Something had to give and what was being compromised over that period was our investment in maintenance, and that has caught up with us.

“I’m saying possibility because, if that ramped-up planned maintenance… is accompanied by unplanned capacity loss factor – that is the other units that are tripping – then it means there will be an intensification of load shedding. Which is essentially the situation that we find ourselves in,” said Ramokgopa. 

Over time Eskom’s generating units have been exploited because of a lack of investment in planned maintenance, owing to the utility’s balance sheet being “severely compromised”, he said. 

“What has helped us a lot is the fiscal injection from National Treasury. Now, [we] have a degree of wiggle room from a financing and a funding point of view, to be able to direct a significant amount of resources towards maintenance. 

“Previously with that constrained balance sheet… Something had to give and what was being compromised over that period was our investment in maintenance, and that has caught up with us,” he said. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Government’s debt relief for Eskom gives power utility some breathing space

Eskom’s head of generation, Bheki Nxumalo, said Stage 6 load shedding is likely to continue for the rest of the week, and be eased off towards the weekend, as some units begin to return to service.  

“Towards the end of this week we should be in a position to start reducing the stages from the current Stage 6 and… we would’ve recovered as well on our [pump storage] reserves,” he said.

In response to questions about the resurgence of higher stages of power cuts after the BRICS Summit last month, Nxumalo said Eskom did not “run the units harder for BRICS” in an effort to ease load shedding over that period.

“We don’t plan around events, we plan around the system and what is required,” he said. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Mike Trow says:

    Spinning so hard they should attach a couple of cables to him and generate some power – take us down by one stage.

  • Santosh Maharaj says:

    I take it that there is no money available to buy more diesel to run the gas turbines.
    This is how the country was kept at artificially low stages. Now the game is up. Your lies have to be increasingly sophisticated going forward.

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    Get ready for a total blackout. I just hope that it does not happen, but………

  • I thought De Ruyter failed because he was not an engineer like this cadre is. In his first few days that was his claim and that we will SOON see the end of loadshedding (Dec/Jan). Well mr. Know-it-all-engineer, was your conclusion after investigation of the problem so wrong due to your incompetence or are you simply a liar like the rest of your over-paid, under performing collegues? You may fool most of your people most of the time but you sure are not fooling us all at all.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    Does this guy know what he is talking about. Every week, he has different explanations.

  • Mike Waghorn says:

    And given the country is generating 4600 mw from privately owned green energy solutions, we’re actually at stage 11

  • David Mark says:

    You know, they should have just listened to De Ruyter. We know why they haven’t. Treasonous thieves and cabals run the show. The rest of us just need to suck it up? I hope the vote next year is a turning point.

    • But when ADR asked Treasury for money for diesel they said no. So how come the cadre Sputla gets money suddenly ?

    • Neil Parker says:

      Yale University gets Andre De Ruyter – we get cadre Sputla. Only in SA can a competent Eskom CEO be replaced by a poly pretending to be an engineer. It’s reflective of the cloud cuckoo land and / or Marvel Comics Wakanda in which the comrades live.

  • Heinrich Holt says:

    He and Frikkie are from the same ilk. When their lips move only drivel comes out.

  • Benevolence ZA says:

    Isn’t that what De Ruyter said had to happen? regular shut down and maintenance? but was crucified as incompetent? I’m glad Eskom has humbled this Minister with all the bulls**t talk he does every weekend. He talks too much but has achieved nothing worthwhile to deserve that position of such an important state enterprise. So now we must understand maintenance because he says so.

  • pieterve64 says:

    I thought Gwede said that he can end loadshedding in 12-18 months? That was 9 months ago.

  • Johann Olivier says:

    ANC burned it for BRICS. (Gotta look good!) Now it’s payback time. Who, possibly, is surprised?

  • neilred007 says:

    Our dear “minister of electricity” we have been hearing the same BS since 2008. It’s time the goverment and the ANC got out of the way and allowed competent private players to transform the industry.
    14 years of incompetence and theft has left us disillusioned and devistated our economy.
    Time to get out of the way

  • Iam Fedup says:

    All together now…

    How the hell can we believe you,
    How the hell can we believe you,
    How the hell can we believe you,
    You lie, you lie, you lie!

    Which university gave him his engineering degree? Moscow?

  • Wilhelm Boshoff says:

    It will only get worse.

  • Denise Smit says:

    I think it is Godongwana placing a cap on expenditure of the state that is “undermining” Eskom’s ability to use diesel and gas to keep us on lower stages that is happening now, and breakdowns increasing because of maintenance being reduced in the winter months and during BRICCS to keep us on lower loadshedding stages for optics sake. What would have happened if a lot of us had not started with our own solar projects (4 400 megawats of it) ? Shamefull ANC-EFF government. Denise Smit

  • Shut down South32. They are using 2 stages of loadshedding to make aluminium from imported ore and then export the metal, while paying a tiny fraction of what the rest of us pay for electricity.

    • Steve Davidson says:

      That was thanks to us having too much electricity back in the ‘old’ days. Can you believe it. And then along came Mugabe’s-wife’s-cousin’s-husband beetroot-man Mbeki followed by Msholozi to stuff it all up. Morons the both of them.

  • Cornay Bester says:

    Come back de Ruyter! We need you!
    B

  • Veritas Scriptum says:

    It’s mind boggling that we can carry on being fed absolute BS.
    Why not give us daily stats on generation capacity, usage, maintenance, breakdowns etc. Let us be the judges. Cyril and every minister connected to electricity have failed SA. How long can this BS go on for?

  • Wallie Louw says:

    Biggest joke ever. DM should keep running minutes of what is said and promised over time. Will be a best seller.

  • Elizabeth Louw says:

    Is the Mozambique offer a hoax?

  • Steve Davidson says:

    “Eskom has seen a deterioration in generating capacity is that it had not been sticking to performing planned maintenance over the years.”

    But did really really well with the planned thefts…

  • Brad cupido says:

    Every time this minister speaks the stages increase, maybe he should stick to dancing, at least at that he’s average.

  • Rae Earl says:

    Who the hell can believe anything these people say anymore. Both Ramaphosa and his Stupidity General Felix (Dubai) Mbalula assured us that load shedding will be a thing of the past by November or December. They made those promises when Stages 2-4 ruled . We’re now at Stage 6 and not looking good. Please, rather keep your mouths shut and don’t make empty promises as neither of you appears to have a clue about what is happening in this country.

  • Lynette Morris-Hale says:

    We need a journalist to interview this man and hold him to account for all his predications/promises. His answers could be very interesting/puerile .

  • Brian Doyle says:

    We can now see the result of the BRICS summit where units were run hard so as not to have a high level of load shedding while all so called dignitaries and their retinues were staying here. We are now paying another price, in addition to the cost of staging the event.

  • Bill Gild says:

    “In response to questions about the resurgence of higher stages of power cuts after the BRICS Summit last month, Nxumalo said Eskom did not “run the units harder for BRICS” in an effort to ease load shedding over that period.”

    Really?

  • I hope to see the end of loadshedding in my life time

  • Deirdre Lubbe says:

    I thought de Ruyter failed due to cultural differences, now it appears Ramakgopa succeeded thanks to support from an ever shrinking tax base. Let’s hope the price of corruption will be paid in the end.

  • Lisbeth Scalabrini says:

    From News 24: “The Mozambican government wants answers from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration as to why there has been no movement from Eskom on the 100MW of electricity that the country agreed to give South Africa to help alleviate load shedding.”

  • mongetane says:

    What a total load of rubbish once more! Eskom tactics are banana 🍌 republic – Eskom is not fit for purpose..
    🤫

  • Glyn Fogell says:

    “Over time Eskom’s generating units have been exploited because of a lack of investment in planned maintenance, owing to the utility’s balance sheet being “severely compromised”, he said. ”

    And who did this to South Africa? This must be laid squarely at the ruling party’s door. It started long before the 9 wasted years under Zuma, when the need for additional power capacity was raised by the then experts but ignored by government. And then it intensified with the eye of ESKOM executives being kept on the EAF statistics rather than carrying out planned maintenance that would have impacted those numbers.
    And then there was the loss of skilled staff as the result of cadre deployment.
    Let’s get real. Load shedding will be with us through next year as well. Living in Cape Town, we have lower levels because of a well-managed city which is actively cutting red tape to get solar onto people’s roofs – our complex has just installed 72 kWp to reduce our load on the city grid and storage to keep critical services running in our blocks – and the Province adding renewables as quickly as possible to supplement baseload support.

  • Philip Machanick says:

    Does anyone remember the bizarre claim that when cold weather set in, there would be no problem? Unless something had been done to address the underlying issues how could that be true? The only way that could work would be if maintenance was neglected and that has to catch up with you.

    So no big surprise.

    Until the fundamental problems are addressed, any short-term wins are unlikely to last.

    If you can afford it get solar and batteries. But do your homework and get a good system, properly installed.

  • Chris Orr says:

    Why has this maintenance been left so late? The ANC government was warned of this years ago and told to keep up with appropriate maintenance schedules. Shame on them for leaving SA in such a mess. Shame, shame, shame!

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