Energy News

South Africa’s Battle Against Load Shedding: President Ramaphosa Outlines National Energy Plan Progress

Published by
WIlliam Dube
  1. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed optimism in addressing the country’s electricity crisis and reducing load shedding if the national energy plan is effectively executed.
  2. Despite ongoing efforts, load shedding remains a pressing issue, with concerns escalating as analysts predict worsening power outages during the upcoming winter season.
  3. The government is working to exempt critical facilities, such as hospitals, from load shedding while also tackling electricity infrastructure vandalism and illegal connections.

In a recent address to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), South African President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed optimism about the country’s electricity crisis, stating that there should be light at the end of the tunnel if the national energy plan continues to be executed. However, the president could not provide a specific timeline or expected date for relief from the nation’s persistent rolling blackouts, which have been affecting daily life, businesses, and livelihoods across the country.

Ramaphosa assured the NCOP that the government’s primary focus remains on reducing the severity and frequency of load shedding through a range of interventions under the umbrella of the National Energy Crisis Committee (Necom). With Kgosientsho Ramokgopa appointed as the Minister of Electricity to head the committee, the president highlighted that work is already underway to implement the national energy plan.

Acknowledging the progress made so far, Ramaphosa revealed that deep discussions have taken place between the government, Eskom workers, and engineers to potentially provide some respite from load shedding. However, on 29 March, load shedding escalated to Stage 4, and it has been experienced almost every day this year. Analysts and researchers anticipate that the situation will worsen during the upcoming winter season.

Concerns have been raised regarding delays in completing maintenance on the country’s sole nuclear power plant, as electricity demand typically spikes during colder seasons, necessitating increased generating capacity. Clyde Mallinson, the director of Virtual Energy and Power, warned that severe power outages could occur this winter unless Eskom raises the coal fleet’s capacity factor to 50% or more. If this doesn’t happen, South Africa could face stage 6 load shedding, particularly in June.

President Ramaphosa also addressed ongoing efforts to ensure that critical facilities across the country are exempted from load shedding where feasibly possible without increasing the likelihood of additional blackouts. Commuter rail infrastructure, bulk water systems and facilities, and facilities essential for energy production have already been excluded from rolling blackouts. Although 77 hospitals have been exempted from load shedding, more still face power outages, complicating critical care delivery.

The president mentioned that many public hospitals have alternative power supplies like generators, and the Department of Health has been collaborating with Eskom to exempt more facilities from load shedding. Ramaphosa also discussed short-term measures being taken by the government to address the lack of electricity caused not only by load shedding but also by misconduct, such as illegal connections, vandalism, and the deliberate destruction of electricity infrastructure by criminal syndicates. Eskom has partnered with law enforcement to tackle these issues, resulting in a handful of arrests.

WIlliam Dube

William Dube is a finance and economic news expert with over 10 years of experience in economic anaylsis, financial product assessment and market analysis. With a numerous certificates from prestigious universities including but not limited to Yale University and the University of Pennyslivenia. William specializes in providing insightful news developments in South Africa and commentary on investment strategies, risk management, and global economic trends. You can contact him on william@rateweb.co.za

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Published by
WIlliam Dube

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