South Africa has once again been plunged into darkness on Thursday morning when stage 2 load shedding was implemented countrywide due to the delay to return five generation units to service and a further two units went offline. Some will be experiencing their loadshedding later today.
Eskom has issued warnings of a “severely constrained” power system and has urged “the people of South Africa to reduce electricity consumption in order to help us power the country through the evening peak.”
This blow follows a court ruling this week delaying the City of Cape Town’s ability to buy non-Eskom electricity. It was ruled that Cape Town must first exhaust negotiations with the Government in its attempt to secure South African municipalities the legal right to select their electricity suppliers.
Ghaleb Cachalia – DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises – said on Thursday: “These developments reflect the continued inability of Eskom to meet the needs of South Africans for affordable and available electricity. On the one hand, Eskom continues to limp into the darkness of the death spiral Eskom CEO, André de Ruyter, himself referred to… and on the other, an inexplicable procedural judgment that has stymied the plans of a city of four million people to set up its own power-purchasing office, which would secure supplies within six years.
“This situation is untenable as South Africans battle to emerge from the economically crippling effects of Covid-19 legislation that has depressed demand for electricity in the interim. How Eskom intends to meet a rise in electricity needs as the economy revivifies is woefully unclear.”
While proposed bills from the DA that would diversify the country’s energy sources are being sidelined, Cachalia asks how serious the Government, an Eskom shareholder, really is about the dire electricity situation. “Its actions or more precisely, its lack of action, seems to suggest otherwise. The utility’s crippling debt levels, its continued inability to secure a stable grid and Government’s unwillingness in the face of this to pursue meaningful alternative options reflects a gross dereliction of duty and responsibility to the nation,” said Cachalia in a statement today.
The DA called for urgent attention to these issues.
Stage 2 load shedding kicked off at 8am in South Africa on Thursday morning, and is expected to continue until 10pm tonight.