Solidarity says at this stage there are no grounds to fear the introduction of phase 10 load shedding, even though the Minister of Electricity, Dr. Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, earlier warned about its possibility.
Dr. Dirk Hermann, managing director of Solidarity, says that even the introduction of phase 8 load shedding is unlikely, except “if something unforeseen happens”.
“The electricity minister likes to shock and make powerful statements. We also saw it with her that suggestion corruption is not that bad,” said Hermann.
“Solidarity works with reality and projections from real data.”
According to Hermann, Solidarity has members in almost all key positions in Eskom, whose feedback to the union is that an average of phase 3 and 4 load shedding can be expected for the coming winter.
He believes, however, that there can still be exceptionally higher phases of load shedding. Exceptions will be, for example, if there are four days or more of exceptional cold or exceptional breakdowns.
“Last year the highest demand was 35,000 MW. It is possible, but highly unlikely, that it will be surpassed this winter. The last time we saw a demand of 37,000 MW was in 2007. In winter, coal generators are slightly more effective than in summer. As in the past, there will also be less maintenance in the winter,” said Hermann.
“Unfortunately, load shedding is expected for the whole year on a daily basis. The system is under great pressure and Eskom is in a state due to lack of government insight, reckless management, loss of skills, corruption and sabotage. So something unforeseen can always happen.”
Rhewal earlier today report that phase 6 load shedding was introduced on Wednesday at 16:00 due to a shortage of generation capacity.
The DA predicts that this is only the tip of the iceberg as the government – and in particular Ramokgopa – continues its misplaced confidence in the country’s unreliable coal-fired power stations.
Kevin Mileham, the DA’s spokesperson on energy, says that renewable energy generation in South Africa will also have difficulty taking off “as long as the ANC continues to stand in the way of communities trying to free themselves from Eskom’s load-shedding grip”.
Mileham goes on to say that since his appointment, Ramokgopa has insisted that the life of the country’s struggling power stations should be extended while the taxpayer should foot the bill.
“What Ramokgopa and the ANC government do not understand is that no matter how hard Eskom runs its coal-fired power stations, they will never be able to meet South Africa’s current demand for electricity.
“That ship has long since sailed and as long as Ramokgopa and his ANC colleagues continue to beat this drum, South Africa will be plunged into darkness for years with devastating economic consequences.”
The DA emphasizes that South Africa must continue to work on “deregulated, competitive, reliable and affordable energy supply” to end load shedding.
“Several Independent Power Producer (IPP) projects are currently in the pipeline and every effort must be made to ensure that adequate support is provided to these producers.
“The ANC’s stubbornness is deliberately preventing South Africa’s best and brightest innovators and entrepreneurs from tackling the power problem. It is time for the ANC to stand aside and let the ingenuity of the people of South Africa flourish.”
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