Momentum gained in rolling back load shedding

Monday, July 31, 2023

President Cyril Ramaphosa says although load shedding will not be resolved overnight, Eskom and government is making “significant progress” in areas aimed at reducing and eventually removing it altogether.

The President was addressing the nation through his weekly newsletter on Monday.

“Today, we are releasing a detailed report outlining the work done to improve the performance of Eskom’s power stations, accelerate the building of new generation capacity and drive regulatory reforms to transform the electricity sector.

“The winter months will soon be coming to an end. Although load shedding has continued, as was anticipated, we have managed to avert a worst case scenario by stabilising the performance of Eskom’s power stations and reducing demand,” President Ramaphosa said.

He explained that the power utility is hard at work to address challenges at power stations.

“Eskom’s generation fleet continues to show sustained improvement. Unplanned losses have been reduced to less than 16 000MW in in the last two months, down from more than 18 000MW previously. Planned maintenance has been reduced during the winter period, with Eskom having undertaken significant maintenance in the months preceding winter.

“Looking ahead, damaged units at the Kusile and Medupi power stations are being returned to service on an expedited basis. In combination, these units represent more than 3 000MW of capacity.

“The Eskom debt relief package announced by the Minister of Finance will enable necessary investment in maintenance and expansion of the transmission network,” he said.

Energy Action Plan

A year has passed since President Ramaphosa announced the Energy Action Plan aimed at addressing load shedding and achieving energy security for the country.

President Ramaphosa said since then, fervent work has been done “to add as much power as possible” to the vulnerable power grid.

“Eskom has unlocked close to 400 MW from companies with extra available capacity, and a further 600 MW is currently in the contracting process. We have sourced an additional 400MW from Cahora Bassa in Mozambique.

“We are fast-tracking the procurement of new generation capacity from renewables, gas and battery storage. Later this year, the first three projects from the emergency power programme are expected to connect to the grid. Also later this year, around 2 300MW from the most recent bid windows of the renewable energy independent power producer programme should be in construction,” he said.

President Ramaphosa explained that home and rooftop solar uptake is one of the key outputs of the Energy Action Plan coupled with accelerated private investment in capacity generation.

“It is encouraging to see that more municipalities are allowing customers to feed electricity into the grid when they have surplus electricity. This will provide yet another incentive for businesses large and small to invest in alternative energy sources.

“Regulatory changes have helped to boost private investment in new generation capacity. This work has enabled a massive boom in private investment in electricity generation, with a pipeline of more than 10 000MW of new capacity that will begin to connect to the grid later this year,” he said.

The President acknowledged that although load shedding remains a challenge, gains are being made in addressing it.

“We have maintained that load shedding will not be resolved overnight, but we are making clear progress towards reducing it and eventually bringing it to an end.

“Let us maintain this momentum, and let us all play our part, wherever we can, as we lay the groundwork for an energy secure future,” President Ramaphosa said.

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