South Africa is currently facing a major electricity crisis, and the situation does not look like it will improve any time soon. According to a recent media briefing, the Minister in the Presidency responsible for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, announced that Stage 6 load shedding will continue indefinitely due to significant strain on the system.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what this means for South Africans and explore some of the government’s initiatives to address the problem.
The Situation at a Glance
During the media briefing, Ramokgopa explained that Eskom, the country’s national electricity provider, had recently experienced unplanned outages of about 18 000MW. This situation undermines the government’s ability to maintain lower stages of load shedding, and Eskom has been forced to implement Stage 6 load shedding indefinitely to protect the grid.
Ramokgopa acknowledged that this is a trying period for South Africans, and the government is doing everything possible to address the situation. While the situation seems dire, there is hope that some of the government’s initiatives will make a difference.
Government Initiatives to Address the Electricity Crisis
- Distribution Demand Management Programme
To encourage greater demand reduction by commercial and residential customers, Eskom has opened applications for its Distribution Demand Management Programme. Customers that reduce their electricity consumption will receive a financial incentive.
- NERSA Public Hearings
The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) will hold public hearings on Ministerial determinations for three key NECECOM initiatives on May 19, 2023. This will give interested parties an opportunity to weigh in on proposed policies related to energy security.
- Loan Guarantee Scheme
National Treasury is finalizing adjustments to the Loan Guarantee Scheme to establish an Energy Bounce Back Scheme. This funding will provide first-loss support for solar-related loans and leasing of solar equipment to small businesses affected by rolling blackouts.
- Land Bank Fund for Farmers
To support energy security in the agricultural sector, the Land Bank has established a R2.5 billion fund for farmers to invest in alternative energy solutions. The Minister shared that load shedding places pressure on primary production in the agricultural sector, with 23% of the production based on activities that require reliable and quality energy.
While Stage 6 load shedding will continue indefinitely, there is hope that some of the government’s initiatives – including the Distribution Demand Management Programme, NERSA public hearings, Loan Guarantee Scheme, and Land Bank Fund – will provide support and relief to those affected by the crisis.