Electricity minister says loadshedding respite not staged because of elections

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  • South Africa’s Minister in the Presidency responsible for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, says government is making strides in the delivery of the energy plan unveiled by President Cyril Ramaphosa in July 2022.

Ramokgopa’s remarks comes as the country marks 40 consecutive days of no load shedding. Ramokgopa attributed this to improvement in structural changes within Eskom, which has seen last year’s anticipated unplanned capacity loss factor reduced from 15 000 megawatts to 14 000 megawatts during the same period.

“Eskom, by its own admission accepts that the kind of improvement that we have seen is so enduring that we can say to the country that we have clocked back 1000 megawatts compared to the same period of the previous calendar year,” he said.

Updating the media on the progress of the Energy Action Plan (EAP) in Pretoria on Monday, Ramokgopa noted the aggressive rollout of solar photovoltaic (PV) by both industry and households on the back of incentives provided for by the National Treasury.  Requirements for solar panel incentive explained HERE

“[Due to] the kind of reforms that have been introduced, we are seeing greater numbers of households and industry that are taking up the opportunity to roll out solar PVs behind the meter intervention,” Ramokgopa said.

He also noted that on the back of the fiscal support received from National Treasury, Eskom has been able to invest a significant proportion of time into planned maintenance.

“When we went to December of 2023 transitioning into January 2024, we experienced about 18% of the total generating capacity taken out for planned maintenance, unprecedented in the past three years, as a result of this fiscal support. These concerted efforts are beginning to bear fruits,” the Minister said.

He said the biggest enemy is to ensure that the entity addresses the issue of unit failures, including unplanned capacity loss factor, and efficiency of the units.

Ramokgopa said during the same period in May 2023, unplanned capacity loss factor moved from 16 800 megawatts to about 18 000 megawatts.

“This recovery and the clawing back of the 7 000 megawatts is something that has been experienced over a period of time [and]in this instance, over a 24-month period. All indications suggest that we will continue to improve on this number,” Ramokgopa said.

To date, unplanned outages from 26 April 2024 have been reduced by about 4 400 megawatts from 15 500 megawatts experienced some time ago.

Upcoming elections

Meanwhile, Ramokgopa disputed the accusations that the improvement in electricity has something to do with the upcoming National and Provincial government elections on 29 May 2024, saying “there’s no correlation between this performance and the date of 29 May.”

“When the team was making these efforts; when we ramped up planned maintenance in December and January, little did we know that there would be a big date with a ballot box on the 29th of May.

“This is not staged [or]managed. It is an orchestrated effort, and an engineering feat by the team at Eskom.

“What we know is that UCLF [unplanned capacity loss factor]is tracking at 29% as of April of 2024, as opposed to 34 % of April 2023. We have recovered five percentage points over the period of the same period in April and a comparable period this year in April.

“You do not earn and recover that five percentage points suddenly because a date of an elections has been announced. It is as a result of process mapping in an engineering term; the stabilisation of management; ensuring that we use and deploy this fiscal injection, and identifying candidate stations that can give us the best returns in the shortest possible space of time.”

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

Content source: SAnews.gov.za


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