Power cuts cost SA up to R120bn in 2019, research shows

This is likely to persist in the years to come.
The government granted Eskom a series of mammoth bailouts to stabilise its finances, but its coal-fired power plants keep breaking down after years of mismanagement. Image: Moneyweb

Power cuts by state utility Eskom cost the South African economy up to R120 billion last year and will probably persist for the next two to three years, research by the country’s national science council showed.

The power cuts are one of the biggest challenges facing President Cyril Ramaphosa as he tries to revive investor confidence in Africa’s most industrialised economy.

Ramaphosa has promised to break up Eskom to make it more efficient and granted it a series of mammoth bailouts to stabilise its finances, but its coal-fired power plants keep breaking down after years of mismanagement.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) urged the government to move swiftly to ease regulations governing “self-generation” of electricity by companies and households as a way to minimise power cuts in 2020.

Other government initiatives, such as giving independent power producers the go-ahead to build new plants, could only help reduce the scale of power cuts from 2021 if procurement processes are expedited or from 2022 under normal circumstances, the CSIR research showed.

Ramaphosa promised in a speech to business leaders this month that he would embrace efforts by businesses and households to generate their own electricity, but his government is yet to follow through with the necessary regulatory reforms.

The CSIR said the government should publish determinations to procure more power as soon as the first quarter of this year and talk to existing renewable energy producers about squeezing more electricity from their plants.

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Does anyone know why the legal regulations forbidding competition against Eskom, i.e. the need to have permission to initiate “self-generation” by private citizens & businesses, are not considered unconstitutional and / or subject to Competition Commission action? Or does our constitution actually and specifically entrench our government’s monopolies such as Eskom?

I think this definitely requires further investigation Paining as you make one helluva valid point!

A few weeks now WITHOUT any loadshedding…

I hope Eskom is “aware of the problem” and that they are “working on it”… 😉

On a serious note, yes Paining, you touch some truths…to keep Eskom as monopoly, it can control 95% of SA’ users…perhaps holding consumers to ‘ransom’, for a better word. Conveniently ties in with ANC looting / redistribution of wealth.

Same question can be asked as to why govt (through ICASA) has not been releasing more internet bandwidth to bring data costs down.

End of comments.

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