Why Load Shedding Stage 6 Has Returned: Insights from Minister Ramokgopa

A Return to Power Woes

South Africa found itself once again facing the intensity of Stage 6 load shedding. At the heart of the matter? Eskom’s challenges with its maintenance schedule and a sudden loss of two critical generation units.

The Maintenance Dilemma

  • Background: Minister of Electricity, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, pointedly remarked on Eskom’s challenges during a recent media briefing. He attributed the resurgence of intensified load shedding to Eskom’s past neglect of their “planned maintenance schedule”.
  • Quote:“We are where we are as a country in relation to the deterioration of the generating capacity because we have not been sticking to planned maintenance. Eskom’s balance sheet was severely compromised. The units have been exploited without the necessary maintenance, and this caught up with us,” Ramokgopa elaborated.
  • Looking Ahead: A portion of the R254 billion fiscal relief provided by the National Treasury is intended to boost Eskom’s maintenance efforts, aiming for a more stable energy future.

Short-Term Strain for Long-Term Gain

  • Ramokgopa’s Assurance: While Eskom commits to adhering to its maintenance regimen, it simultaneously signals a potential rise in the severity of load shedding in the short-term.
  • Quote:“We are going to stick to planned and philosophy maintenance. In the short-term, this may result in intensified load shedding. Ramped up maintenance could lead to an unplanned capacity loss factor,” Ramokgopa revealed.
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Seasonal Insights: From Winter to Summer

Surprisingly, despite the recent Stage 6 challenges, South Africa navigated the winter months with relatively less disruption than expected.

  • Winter Recap:“Of course, we reached stage 6 at some period, but not as severe as we had anticipated. If the unplanned capacity loss factor had reached 18,000MW+ with a peak demand of about 33,000MW, we might have seen even stage 8 or beyond,” Ramokgopa reflected.
  • On to Summer: With the country transitioning into the summer season, demand on the power grid lessens. The ministry’s focus? Increased maintenance to bolster the grid’s resilience.”We’re ramping up our planned maintenance to ensure that we build resilience in the system. We aim for reliable units that provide consistent generating capacity,” Ramokgopa emphasized.

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