As we go back to stage 4, Ramaphosa says load shedding bad for economy
The country is on stage 4 until 11 pm on Tuesday night.
JOHANNESBURG - Eskom has announced that load shedding has been reverted to stage 4.
On Monday, citizens were up in arms when the utility announced that load shedding had escalated to stage 6.
This meant that the power utility would be shedding 6,000 megawatts from the national grid.
Now the country is on stage 4 until 11 pm on Tuesday night.
Speaking to eNCA on Monday night, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said: “We have to ask tough questions like how do we improve the level of performance, how do we get better quality of repair work and how do we recover from the flooded power stations as well?”
Chairperson Jabu Mabuza said stage 6 was to avoid a total blackout.
“I don’t think we’re failing. I think some of the reasons why we find ourselves where we are is mainly the reliability of the plant due to maintenance that has not been done. The situation we find ourselves in is to make sure that it is controlled. Load shedding stage 6 is not a calamity, it is controlled to protect the system from a total blackout.”
Eskom said its emergency response command centre and technical teams have been working round the clock to restore power.
It has listed a number of reasons for the latest power cuts.
These include a technical problem at the Medupi Power Station and heavy rains causing coal handling and operational problems at several power stations.
But Eskom said it’s also been working closely with large industry to assist in easing the load.
Spokesperson Dikatso Mothae said stage six means more frequent outages.
“It has more ways of load shedding, not one big chunk but you might find there’s a round [of power cuts] in the morning and in the afternoon.”
But she said the situation was under control.
“It is still way to ensure that we don’t have a complete blackout.”
Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa said this was bad for the economy, adding that the anger and frustration of citizens were understandable.
“Our immediate priority is to get as much generating capacity back online within the shortest possible time. Eskom’s emergency response command centre and technical teams are working around the clock to fix multiple breakdowns."
He said the wet weather in some parts of the country over the past week contributed to the strain on the national grid.
"It is essential at this time that all stakeholders work together to restore the adequate supply of electricity in the shortest time. We call on all South Africans, especially energy-intensive users, to reduce consumption at this time.”
Ramaphosa also called for swift action to load shedding.
“The energy challenges in this country will not be resolved overnight. We have set out on a bold path of restructuring and rebuilding. Despite the setbacks of the past week, we are making progress and will steadily begin to see the fruits of these efforts.”
He is expected to leave the country on Tuesday, heading to Egypt, where he’ll participate in the inaugural session of the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development.