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Presidency dismisses ‘return of load shedding’ social media post as an ‘ill-guided political ploy’

Presidency dismisses ‘return of load shedding’ social media post as an ‘ill-guided political ploy’
Illustrative image: Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla) | Kusile Power Station. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla | (Image: Mamun Srizon / Unsplash)

Ahead of the general elections, the Presidency has repudiated reports about the return of rolling blackouts after an absence of more than 60 days.

The Presidency on Tuesday said claims about the imminent return of rolling blackouts were “factually incorrect and an ill-guided political ploy to mislead the country on the eve of our 7th general elections”. 

It said it had noted “a social media post purporting to be a power alert — and advising of imminent load shedding”. 

Power utility Eskom said the energy availability factor for its power stations was above 70%.

“Following 62 days of no load shedding, there is growing and overwhelming support for Eskom’s sustained and rigorous effort to self-correct, stabilise and strengthen the generation system,” the Presidency said on the eve of the general elections.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Eskom offers signs of hope that the power crisis has turned a corner

“The ministry remains confident that the work we have been leading over the past 12 months, supported by the many competent Eskom employees and its leadership team, will continue in the coming months and ultimately place the country on a firm foundation of energy security to support our inclusive economic growth and development agenda,” Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said.

The Presidency said the work was buoyed by an across-the-fleet improvement in energy availability and a reduction in breakdowns, stemming from a decision in March 2023 to invest in heightened planned maintenance.

“In addition to no load shedding, this work has meant that, over the past eight weeks, Eskom has significantly reduced the amount of diesel used by the open-cycle gas turbines. 

“Eskom’s performance has defied all the doomsday predictions and silenced many so-called critics,” the Presidency said. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Eskom forecasts ‘light’ load shedding in winter after 30-day break from rolling blackouts

Eskom updates 

Eskom “noted with concern the fake news trending on social media regarding load shedding resuming on 30 May 2024”.

The power utility said generation availability continued to perform well as a result of the Generation Operational Recovery Plan, which commenced in March 2023, as well as “intensive” planned maintenance. 

“Unplanned outages are averaging at 12,500MW, below what was anticipated for our winter outlook. The energy availability factor (EAF) of four of our power stations is performing above 70%. Our year-to-date EAF is improving gradually and is currently at 60.73%,” the power utility said. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Why is there less load shedding? There’s a fundamental change taking place in SA’s electricity sector 

Eskom said regular updates would be provided and the next update would be on Friday, 31 May. DM

Read more in Daily Maverick: Elections 2024

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