Eskom load shedding stage 6

Image via: Adobe Stock

Will South Africa face five more years of load shedding? Eskom responds

Eskom said there will be an electricity shortfall for the foreseeable future, unfortunately, several news outlets misquoted the power utility.

Eskom load shedding stage 6

Image via: Adobe Stock

This past week has seen a return to load shedding across the country as Eskom once again struggles to come to terms with increasing power demands and unplanned outages.

The good news is that power should be returning to normal Wednesday 17 March 2021. According to Eskom, there will be an electricity shortfall for the foreseeable future.

A number of news outlets, however, reported that Eskom expects load shedding to persist for the next five years. Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter:

“Eskom has to reiterate, there will be a shortfall in the supply of electricity of approximately 4000 megawatts over the next five years as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.”

Eskom did, however, release a statement today seeking to clarify this, confirming that it is likely to continue to be a shortfall for the next five years if demand continues to grow at the current rate.

“Eskom wishes to place on the record that it has not at any stage made any statement that load shedding will last five more years.”

The statement clearly states that Eskom has at no point said that they expect load-shedding to continue for that period. In this case, it would seem that media outlets have inferred load shedding from the statement about the shortfall.

“What Eskom wishes to repeat, as stated at the detailed media briefing on Monday, is that the current shortages of electricity generation infrastructure amount to a deficit currently of 4 000 MW.”

Eskom added that “this gap may indeed widen should demand for electricity increase”, which is consistent with what President Ramaphosa said during the 2021 State of the Nation Address.

Eskom’s statement seems to indicate that there’s a belief that the Eskom power shortfall could somehow be reduced by external means as this would be the only realistic way to avert load shedding despite the national utilities planned shortfall over the next five years.

Based on the president’s state of the nation address, renewable energy will be part of the plan to make up the expected 4 000 MW to 6 000 MW shortfall. De Ruyter added:

“We welcome further interventions announced by the President, which will include a further request for proposal for further 2 600 megawatts from wind and solar energy”.

However, it seems that the only realistic solution going forward will require partnerships and investment by the private sector in order to build the overall capacity available and reduce demand on Eskom’s supply.