Power outages in South Africa are worsening day by day with insurance companies already changing their policies concerning power-related damages. Experts believe that the country is already on the brink of total blackout. In its recent announcement, Eskom implemented Stage 6 load shedding due to a failure in two generating units. Eskom has stated that the total breakdown of generating capacity is at 18 016MW while generating capacity out-of-order for maintenance is 3 987 MW. The entity is taking all necessary measures to restore the generating units to service.
Group Chief Executive at the Whitford Group and Energy Expert, Adil Nchabeleng, divulged that the country is already beyond Stage 6 load shedding as some areas have been without power for hours longer than Eskom’s load shedding schedule. In an interview with Morning Live, he exposed Eskom’s misleading actions regarding actual situations. Eskom has decided to cap the announcement of load shedding at Stage 6 and is not announcing any higher stages because of it. This decision is producing the illusion that the load shedding levels are stable around Level 6, which is not true.
A partial blackout is already happening in the country, with almost 80% of the country’s areas without electricity at any given time. Nchabaleng revealed that this could cause a total blackout, with the frequency level of the entire grid collapsing. If such an event were to arise, technicians would need to turn off the grids to rectify frequency levels. This implies that all the power stations in the country would have to be synchronized to the same frequency and voltage, causing no power supply throughout South Africa.
The expert said that the entire world would have to wait weeks to restore the grid, and with such an incompetent workforce, it’s impossible to even guess how long restoration might take. A complete blackout will require that the grid be reset, and this will bring about a total non-availability of electricity in the country from the onset of the blackout.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has mentioned that implementing the court order, which exempts hospitals, schools, and other public facilities from load shedding, would lead to the collapse of the grid. Nchabaleng advises that even if Eskom increases the load shedding hours to the point of 18 – 20 hours, the grid would be reset along with the plants to ensure that frequencies are adjusted and maintained. Even then, electricity availability will still be partial, not total.
This alarming revelation by the energy expert should be enough to prod the government and Eskom towards taking more effective action to stabilize the electricity supply throughout the country. Until then, South Africans can only hope for the best while preparing for the worst: a total blackout.