'We are in recovery,' says electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa

'Two thirds of every day without load-shedding going forward,' promises Ramokgopa

Gill Gifford Senior journalist
Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa delivers a briefing on the progresss of the Action Energy Plan at the GCIS offices in Tshwane on Sunday.
Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa delivers a briefing on the progresss of the Action Energy Plan at the GCIS offices in Tshwane on Sunday.
Image: Supplied

The gap between South Africa’s demand for electricity and the amount being generated is closing, and the energy crisis has finally entered the recovery phase. 

Speaking at a briefing on the progress of the Action Energy Plan at the GCIS offices in Tshwane on Sunday morning, minister of electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said positive developments in various areas had all contributed to steady, stable and general improvement, with the current outlook being no load-shedding for 16 hours per day and stage 3 for eight. 

Significant improvements and some degree of relief were happening, he promised. 

“There has not been one single solution, but rather a combination of factors,” he said, one of them being that the anticipated worst-case winter demand scenario of a need for 34,000MW a day had not happened. 

“We hit a demand high on June 28 at 31,000MW, but now we are beginning to plateau at 29,000MW,” he said, adding he was encouraged to see less oscillations in power supply, which appeared to have stabilised. 

Recoveries in generation meant Eskom was able to ramp up planned maintenance in winter “and so we are getting closer to where we want to be”. 

He said partial load losses — incidents where power plants are unable to generate their maximum capacity — were receiving attention. 

“We are diagnosing the situation to determine where the failures of these units are, and then looking at the common problems. We have found boiler tube leaks to be the main culprit and we have the expertise to address this.”

Another challenge, Ramokgopa said, was outage slips. This is the failure to return electricity supply at the stipulated time after load-shedding.


“At the moment we are averaging 1,503MW a day on outage slips, down from a high in May of about 4,000MW.” 

He said the demand for electricity was expected to increase as more people are connected to the grid, meaning the issue of transmission needed to be addressed with speed. 

“We need to resolve this with finances. We have drawn up a report on this that says first we need to tap into the rich liquidity of the private sector. Second, we cannot relinquish ownership. Eskom must be solely responsible for the ownership and management of the grid. There must be energy sovereignty.” He said this “revolutionary” report was going through authorisation phases before it could be made public. 

There was to be an acceleration in the opening of bid windows, with bid window five being opened before the end of July. 

Ramokgopa said he had visited an operational site during the week to look at issues of fraud, crime and safety along with the State Security Agency and SAPS. 

“I received a detailed account of some impressive progress that has been made, but I will have a dedicated briefing on that matter,” he said, explaining it was a situation complicated not only by criminality within Eskom, and on the outside, but with those on the inside aiding and abetting others. 

“We have found linkages between syndicates, but I will leave that for now. I can just assure you that there has been significant progress.” 

Unwilling to put a date on when load-shedding would end due to various factors such as demand, supply and the introduction of independent power suppliers, Ramokgopa said: “I eat, sleep and breathe the resolution of load-shedding and I am confident that we will resolve this.”


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