The health of South Africa’s electricity system is improving despite the continued implementation of load shedding, electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has claimed.
“We have really turned the corner, and I’m not suggesting that we have ended load shedding. I’m simply saying that we can see that there’s light at the end of the tunnel and this is not an oncoming train; it’s a system whose health continues to improve and improve at levels that even exceeded our projections and expectations.”
The minister said that over the past two weeks, available capacity has “consistently” exceeded peak demand. However, there are reasons that load shedding continues to be implemented.
The first of those is that at least 3GW of available capacity is drawn from open-cycle gas turbines, which are burning on diesel. “We have [now] reduced our consumption of diesel … so essentially it’s the true health of the system.
“The second reason is that … planned maintenance still is significantly high. We are hitting about 8 000MW to 9 000MW of planned maintenance.
“Even with that scale of planned maintenance, we still have a situation where we are able to keep load shedding at the levels of the worst, stage 3, or oscillating between no load shedding to stage 3,” he said.
Ramokgopa emphasised that work continues to be done in the area of partial load losses – that is, when generating units do not produce their full capacity.
“The area that is receiving attention is the partial load losses of 6 700MW. It is our collective view … that we can do much better here. Of course, some of it is a function of us exceeding our licence parameters; those are areas that require attention.”