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Minister Ramokgopa Warns of Potential Load Shedding

Minister Ramokgopa Warns of Potential Load Shedding

In a recent statement, Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa addressed the persistent challenges faced by Eskom, despite ongoing efforts to enhance the country’s power generation system. Ramokgopa acknowledged that, despite these efforts, intermittent load shedding remains a looming possibility for South Africa.

The root of the issue lies in the continued unreliability of the majority of Eskom’s units, prompting routine maintenance activities to address the problem. Ramokgopa emphasized the delicate balance between periods of load shedding and days without, as Eskom strives to stabilize its operations.

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“Eskom has announced its summer outlook, making it clear that we should not expect to go beyond Stage 4 load shedding,” stated Minister Ramokgopa. He further explained that, during the period of low demand between December 22 and 29, 2023, Eskom utilized the opportunity to conduct planned maintenance on its fleet.

The minister underlined the persistent challenges faced by Eskom, attributing them to legacy problems such as underinvestment and inadequate planning for maintenance. Despite scaling down scheduled maintenance activities, Ramokgopa warned of potential load shedding in the face of an anticipated increase in demand.

A positive note was struck as Ramokgopa highlighted Eskom’s accomplishments in the previous December, where three units at Kusile were successfully brought online, resulting in periods without load shedding. He pointed out the reduction in repeat failures and the additional buffer created to mitigate the impact of unit failures on the power grid.

However, the minister acknowledged challenges with Unit 1 at Kusile, which experienced significant delays in returning to service. Despite this setback, he expressed confidence in the ongoing work by the generation team to prevent similar delays in bringing Unit 2 back online.

As South Africa navigates the delicate balance between power supply and demand, the challenges faced by Eskom underscore the need for sustained efforts to address the root causes of grid instability. The minister’s transparency about the potential for load shedding encourages public awareness and understanding in the face of a complex and ongoing issue.

Questions may arise about the specific measures Eskom is taking to address the legacy problems of underinvestment and inadequate maintenance planning. Additionally, the minister’s confidence in the generation team prompts questions about the strategies in place to prevent delays similar to those experienced with Unit 1 at Kusile. These questions highlight the ongoing need for transparency and accountability as South Africa grapples with its energy challenges.

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