Risk of load shed­ding in win­ter­time

Cape Argus - - FRONT PAGE - MWANGI GITHAHU mwangi.githahu@inl.co.za

SE­NIOR of­fi­cials at Eskom said that there is a risk of load shed­ding dur­ing the win­ter months and well into 2021.

Speak­ing dur­ing a vir­tual me­dia brief­ing at which Eskom pro­vided de­tails of the com­pany’s op­er­a­tional per­for­mance and the sys­tem out­look for the win­ter pe­riod as well as the sta­tus of the power sys­tem, Eskom group chief ex­ec­u­tive An­dré de Ruyter said: “It is im­por­tant to recog­nise that due to the un­re­li­a­bil­ity and un­pre­dictabil­ity of the sys­tem, the risk of load shed­ding re­mains.

“This will be the real­ity un­til after the 18 months of re­li­a­bil­ity main­te­nance to Au­gust 2021,” he said.

Group ex­ec­u­tive for gen­er­a­tion, Bheki Nxumalo, said: “While we don’t ex­pect to im­ple­ment load shed­ding this win­ter, the risk of load shed­ding does re­main, but we en­deav­our to keep South Africans in­formed timeously in the event that load shed­ding can­not be avoided.”

On the im­pact of the Covid-19 pan­demic on the power sup­ply, De Ruyter said: “The pan­demic has re­duced de­mand which has cre­ated the op­por­tu­nity to ex­e­cute ad­di­tional short-term main­te­nance to ad­dress emer­gent is­sues, in­clud­ing those that are con­tribut­ing to par­tial load losses.”

Eskom’s chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, Jan Ober­holzer, said: “A to­tal of 21 Eskom em­ploy­ees and con­trac­tors have tested pos­i­tive for Covid-19 and are re­ceiv­ing the best treat­ment avail­able.”

He said: “A com­pre­hen­sive and fo­cused ef­fort is in place to pro­tect em­ploy­ees and con­trac­tors in com­pli­ance with the gov­ern­ment’s Covid-19 heath and safety reg­u­la­tions.”

Mean­while, re­act­ing to the news ear­lier in the week that the Na­tional

En­ergy Reg­u­la­tor of South Africa (Nersa) has given Eskom the green light to re­cover billions of rand from tar­iffs charged to stan­dard cus­tomers, spe­cial-pric­ing ar­range­ment cus­tomers and in­ter­na­tional cus­tomers, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Agri Western Cape, Jan­nie Stry­dom, said: “The fact that elec­tric­ity costs have risen by more than in­fla­tion over the past decade, and prod­uct prices have not risen ac­cord­ingly, con­trib­utes to the cost-squeeze ef­fect in which pro­duc­ers find them­selves.”

Agri SA chair­per­son for Eco­nomics and Trade Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence, Ni­col Jansen, said: “More than 25% of the coun­try’s food is pro­duced by ir­ri­ga­tion-re­liant and en­ergy-in­ten­sive in­dus­tries, in­clud­ing hor­ti­cul­ture, dairy, poul­try, grains, and agro­pro­cess­ing.

“These in­creases will place tremen­dous liq­uid­ity pres­sure on agri­cul­tural en­ter­prises, given that elec­tric­ity con­sti­tutes a sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tion of their vari­able costs.”

Jansen said: “Al­ter­na­tive so­lu­tions as part of en­ergy sec­tor re­form should al­low for greater pri­vate sec­tor par­tic­i­pa­tion and com­pe­ti­tion in power gen­er­a­tion to make it af­ford­able.”

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