South Africa’s electricity supply has been severely impacted, with the country now undergoing stage 6 load shedding. The root cause, as outlined by Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, is Eskom’s inability to stick to its planned maintenance schedule over the years.
Deterioration of Generating Capacity
The neglect in maintenance and the lack of investment in electricity generation units have resulted in a significant decline in the nation’s power generating capacity. Ramokgopa elaborated on the issue, stating:
“Part of the reason we are where we are as a country in relation to the deterioration of the generating capacity was that we have not been sticking to planned maintenance, we have not been sticking to philosophy maintenance. Eskom’s balance sheet was severely compromised. There were limited resources to invest in maintenance. Over time, the units have been exploited without the necessary maintenance, planned maintenance, philosophy maintenance, and this caught up with us. That’s why we are in this situation.”
Government’s Response to the Crisis
In light of the current challenges, the government has expressed its commitment to adhering to a maintenance schedule. However, this decision comes with its own set of challenges. As the country embarks on this maintenance journey, intensified power cuts are expected in the near term.
Despite the challenges faced during the winter period, South Africa managed to navigate through with minimal disruptions. The emphasis now, as Ramokgopa highlighted, is on fortifying the system. By focusing on planned maintenance, the goal is to ensure a more consistent and reliable electricity supply for the nation’s residents.