Electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said at his weekly briefing on the Energy Action Plan on Monday that South Africa has “turned a corner” in terms of electricity generation.
The minister said Eskom’s aim was to ensure that there was minimal load shedding during the day and that if load shedding had to be implemented, it would only be from late afternoon and at no greater level than level 4.
“We are not out of the woods because we are experiencing load shedding, even if it’s of a lesser intensity,” he said. “But the fact that you can go for a day, whether it’s a weekend or a weekday, without load shedding, it’s psychological. It’s a major victory,” he said.
Ramokgopa was in an upbeat frame of mind.
He said reduced demand coming out of the winter months has allowed Eskom to increase its planned maintenance by about 2GW and congratulated the generation team for its hard work in achieving the summer outlook requirements.
He reassured South Africans that this meant the system would be more reliable and said it was unlikely that they would see the kind of load losses that occurred in August this year, in 2024. “Also, bolder private-sector engagement has boosted the wheeling framework and a pilot project with Vodacom is yielding exceptional benefits.”
What is of concern is the number of illegal connections, which he said places a significant amount of strain on the distribution infrastructure. He said that municipal debt, which currently stands at R64-billion, is also affecting Eskom’s ability to invest in generation infrastructure.
“As part of the interventions that national treasury is proposing to write off the debt to Eskom, one of the requirements is that first, municipalities must address the issue of illegal connections. Secondly, municipalities have to commit themselves to allowing the dispensation of the prepaid meter system and thirdly, they have to be diligent payers consecutively over 12 months,” he said. – © 2023 NewsCentral Media