We need to act boldly to make load shedding a thing of the past

After more than a decade of electricity shortages, South Africans are right to feel frustrated and angry.
President Cyril Ramaphosa also says that "in the coming days" government plans "to announce a comprehensive set of actions to achieve much faster progress in tackling load shedding". Image: Moneyweb

Dear Fellow South African,

Over the past two weeks, severe load shedding has disrupted our economy and caused extreme hardship for all South Africans.

Stage 6 load shedding was triggered by the loss of over 18 000 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity due to unit breakdowns and an unprotected strike by Eskom workers.

After more than a decade of electricity shortages, South Africans are right to feel frustrated and angry. At times like this, it can feel like there is no end in sight.

Read:
Eskom barely dodges Stage 7, as weeks-long recovery looms
Unions sign 7% Eskom wage deal
Eskom walks out of wage negotiations with union

Yet, while load shedding appears to worsen, the reality is that we have already taken several important actions to address the shortfall in electricity supply.

Our immediate priority is to stabilise the electricity system. As the system recovers and generation capacity is restored, Eskom will be able to reduce load shedding to lower stages.

The agreement reached between Eskom and labour unions will enable critical repairs and return additional units to operation. The transmission line from Cahora Bassa in Mozambique has been restored, adding 600 MW to the grid, and Medupi Unit 6 returned to service on Saturday, adding another 720 MW. Additional units will come back online during the coming week, further easing the current shortfall.

Sabotage at Eskom

At the same time, law enforcement agencies are working hard to tackle sabotage, theft and fraud at Eskom to address the threat that these criminal actions pose to the electricity system.

In the end, the bottom line is that we need to add more capacity to the grid. This will create space for Eskom to undertake critical maintenance and increase the reliability of its fleet. It will also create a buffer so that even if several units experience breakdowns at once, other sources can be used.

Read:
Eskom warns it may take ‘days to weeks’ before its systems recover
Saboteurs threaten to exacerbate South Africa’s power blackouts

One of the first steps I took in 2018 was to revive the renewable energy procurement programme. In addition to the procurement of new generation capacity through this programme, the increase of the licensing threshold for new generation projects to 100 MW means that private investors do not require a license to build generation facilities up to this size.

This simple reform has unlocked a massive potential pipeline of investment.

Eskom has made land available next to existing power stations for private investment in renewable energy projects. Design modifications have been completed to improve the performance of Medupi units 1, 2 and 3 and are underway in units 5 and 6.

While these actions are significant and will bear fruit over the coming months, they are clearly not enough to address the crisis that we face.

What the past two weeks have demonstrated is that we need to do more and do so with the utmost urgency.

Read:
We cannot rely on Eskom any longer: Mavuso
SA’s worst week of load shedding to hit economy hard
Is this Ramaphosa’s most decisive economic decision since taking office?

There is no reason why a country like ours – with the skills, capabilities and resources we have at our disposal – should have to endure a shortage of electricity.

Over the past two weeks, we have been working with the relevant Ministers and senior officials on a range of additional measures to accelerate all efforts to increase our electricity supply. The message is clear: this is no time for business as usual. We need to act boldly to make load shedding a thing of the past.

While the measures we have already taken will secure the supply of reliable and affordable electricity into the future, we have been looking at what additional measures we can take now to bring that goal closer.

We will soon be completing the detailed work and consultations needed to finalise these further measures. We will then, in the coming days, be able to announce a comprehensive set of actions to achieve much faster progress in tackling load shedding.

There are no easy solutions to our electricity crisis. But we are committed and determined to explore every avenue and use every opportunity to ensure that we generate enough electricity to meet the country’s needs.

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Rammer — Look at Cele for a “Bold” method to get rid of a problem situation !!!
Just evict the problem man !!!!!!

We moved quickly to ban beaches and tobacco and alcohol in the covid emergency. We have an energy emergency that needs emergency powers on removing all the hurdles that restrict faster and more extensive private generation and supply of surplus to the grid.

Scrap the deal of every council reinventing the wheel with often bizarre rules that seem largely designed to protect their margins. One set of rules with one compulsory tariff rule that govern metering and feed-in.

Allow councils to easily procure private power or raise finance for constructing their own generation. The finance management acts make this part tough. Just set parameters to catch corruption : price ranges, escalation rates, etc.

Bring out a rule or incentive for councils to generate 20% of their peak demand as dispatchable 6AM to 6PM power, regardless whether from combination of wind & storage, solar & storage, biowaste, fairy dust, whatever. That would exclude any such town from three stages of loadshed AND save them money. It is not going to help national matters much if towns just cover themselves in solar without storage and then our morning and evening peaks just become even bigger problem.

btw got asked

A town with an actual own supply (in contrast to the utter rubbish of CPT Steenbras and its two stage relief with shifting around Eskom supply while wasting 25%), with 20% own generation dispatchable, would be three stages less than whatever is the ruling stage. So next town up the road is stage 4, our town is stage 1. Very attractive town…

Our town would be taking that energy instead of Eskom ALL the time not just during load-shredding and it would be cheaper than Eskom right now when you combine the time of use tariffs from Eskom and their own source. They will also peg fixed increases over time – even if only for 20% of their power but after you figure in profiles more like 35%. If the provider can box clever it will shift its despatchable to the Eskom peak rates and then it is very profitable for council. Literally half Eskom peak rate. “Our town” could combine that dispatchable deal with a variable deal (no storage) and go half non-Eskom. If there are nearby wind and other resources, the concept of smaller towns (lots of space) being largely self-sufficient is not impossible.

But Mr. President, you are in collusion with the saboteurs! The labor union members who went on an illegal strike, sabotaged Eskom, while holding customers at ransom, and destroying business activity and the tax base, are members of the Tripartite Alliance. You, as president of the nation, and of the ANC, are the leader of the Tripartite Alliance sir.

That makes YOU the culprit, the saboteur who leaves the nation in darkness and jobless! Where is the accountability, or just common decency even, to speak the truth? This is too much to expect from a collectivist though. The concept requires a level of cognitive ability that simply does not exist in Luthuli House.

I hope the possible upside of this mess is the ANC get punished big time at the polls. Is it too much to expect that voters will finally wake up to the complete catastrophe that the ANC is for our country? Eskom is in our faces so we see it. What we don’t see is the wilful neglect in infrastructure, water, home affairs, Dirco, the police etc. All these chickens will eventually come home to roost one day.

I wonder if MW could interview someone at Eskom or at Koeberg to ask why: “The power station’s chief nuclear officer Riedewaan Bakardien has resigned from Eskom. Bakardien will leave the power utility at the end of the month to join a Canadian power utility.” EWN.

And what actually happened with the French team that was supposed to replace the two generators, but left the country with an invoice for a billion Rand as the radioactive proof storage buildings were not complete.

I think we need to understand the inner machinations of the utter incompetency of this failure of an energy provider.

The day this Chap lost his iPad, and couldn’t string a sentence of his own together without it, was the day my thoughts and concerns were confirmed! SA is leaderless, and sadly most of the population don’t even understand or care about the consequences of that!

End of comments.

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