Eskom to switch off non-complying municipalities, industries

Power utility has reported offenders to energy regulator

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said the power utility was preparing to pull the plug on municipalities not complying with loadshedding.
Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said the power utility was preparing to pull the plug on municipalities not complying with loadshedding.
Image: SUMAYA HISHAM

Eskom engineers are on standby to switch off municipalities and industrial customers not complying with the loadshedding directive.

Speaking at a media briefing on Wednesday, Eskom group executive for distribution Monde Bala said the power utility had invoked remedial action, including placing engineers on standby to switch off the lights in certain municipalities and key industrial customers.

Bala said the names had been handed over to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa). "We are ongoing with the investigation of non-compliance. We discovered some of those doing their own loadshedding. In certain instances, municipalities who can’t do their own, we do it on their behalf.

"The main metros are part of 28 that handle their own loadshedding that didn't comply. When we discovered we didn’t get reduction of load, we discovered that’s where the problem laid with key industrial customers.

"Of those, 45% of key industrial customers did not meet requirements at all. We’ve invoked remedial action. We’ve drafted letters and engaged the regulator and shared our concerns. We've also activated local teams to ensure that if we don’t receive drops, then we will switch off those not complying directly," Bala said.

Bala, who would not reveal the names of the key industrial customers that did no comply, would not be drawn into speculation for non-compliance. "We're all responsible to work towards a total system collapse. We trust that it will be corrected, if not, we've got levers in place to ensure it is," he said.

He said Eskom remained on high alert to ensure system remained intact.

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said the power utility was on track to suspend loadshedding on Saturday morning. Despite this, De Ruyter said the demand remained higher than what Eskom was able to produce for tonight.

He commended Eskom's response time for unplanned losses. "It’s important to distinguish. The term blackouts is not correct. What we’re implementing is loadshedding. A blackout is what we’re trying to avoid by loadshedding.

"When an entire system is unable to maintain its frequency that leads to total loss of electricity, transmission and distribution... that's a blackout

"We're also exploring a number of options to add more megawatts to the grid. We also have every intention to accommodate more private sector energy generation," De Ruyter said.

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