City of Tshwane power outage

Lone light bulb / Image via Flickr: Caleb Roenigk

Load shedding: Eskom says power cuts unlikely on Friday 15 February

Is this the end of load shedding?

City of Tshwane power outage

Lone light bulb / Image via Flickr: Caleb Roenigk

Load shedding may be coming to an end on Friday 15 February, following five days of calamity at the hands of Eskom.

The national power supplier really dropped the ball this week. What started on Sunday as frustrating Stage 2 rotational load shedding – as a result of planned and unplanned power plant breakdowns – soon devolved into a truly frightening situation. By Tuesday, Eskom reported the collapse of at least seven power generating units – ratcheting up the load shedding schedule to Stage 4 in order to save the power grid from complete collapse.

Pravin Gordhan to the rescue, again

Suburbs and towns were left in protracted darkness. It’s estimated that the South African economy lost R4 billion on Tuesday alone; the cumulative cost of unspent energy far exceeding R10 billion due to load shedding this week. Frustration turned to panic. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that he was shocked, angry and deeply concerned about Eskom’s most dire failings.

Read: Unbundle Eskom? Over our dead bodies, says COSATU

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan stepped in at the darkest hour – determined to find some resolution to Eskom’s continued operational ineptitudes. A contingency plan was tabled during a meeting which lasted six hours. Gordhan, as he did before in December 2018, assured that the department was working closely with Eskom to mitigate the pervasiveness of load shedding. It would seem, in reference to Eskom’s latest public statement, that Gordhan may possess the Midas touch.

No load shedding on Friday 15 February

Late on Thursday evening, Eskom announced that it had terminated Stage 2 load shedding and that the prospect of further disruptions on Friday remained low. The statement said:

“Due to further improvement in generation performance and the notable strides made in replenishing water and diesel reserves, Eskom is not likely to implement load shedding on Friday.

We thank South Africans and all our customers for working with us through a very difficult five days.”

Eskom did, however, note that the power grid remains “tight and vulnerable”, explaining that cuts could be reimplemented on short notice should the utility experience any unexpected breakdowns or a massive upsurge in demand.

If rotational cuts do make a return, you can see if your area will be affected by checking the daily load shedding schedule.