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Thursday, 08 February 2024 21:33

Eskom ramps up load shedding again soon after Ramaphosa saying the worst is over.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

State owned power utility Eskom has announced that Stage 3 load shedding will be implemented from 22:00 on Thursday, until further notice.

In a statement shortly after President Cyril Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address, Eskom said the escalation was "due to the need to replenish the pumped storage dams, which are required to meet the morning and evening peak loads, and a generating unit that was taken offline for repairs over the past 24 hours". 

A generating unit was also taken offline for repairs.

"We are confident that the worst [of load-shedding] is behind us and the end of load shedding is finally within reach, said Ramaphosa."

Stage 3 load shedding will continue until further notice, it said. Changes will be announced as soon as they occur.

Unplanned outages are currently at 15,958MW of generating capacity, while the capacity out of service for planned maintenance is at 6,771MW.

The group said that its teams are working to restore 2,473MW of generating capacity to service by Monday as planned.

Meanwhile Ramaphosa said that "through the National Energy Crisis committee, we have delivered on our commitments to bring substantial new power through private investment on the grid, which is already helping to reduce load-shedding."

Private electricity generation, as well as private sector investment were alluded to (although briefly) as being the key driver to resolving the country's power crisis.

"Since we revived our renewable energy programme five years ago, we have connected more than 2,500MW of solar and wind power to the grid, with three times this amount already in procurement or construction," said Ramaphosa.

"Through tax incentives and financial support, we have more than doubled the amount of rooftop solar capacity installed across the country in just the past year," he added.

Ramaphosa went on to assure that the government is reforming the energy system "to make it more competitive, sustainable and reliable into the future."

"We are going to build more than 14,000km of new transmission lines to accommodate renewable energy over the coming years; To fast-track this process, we will enable private investment in transmission infrastructure through a variety of innovative investment models," he said.

The speech fell short of alluding to why private investment in energy has seen such a boom. Three of the worst years of load-shedding have come under Ramaphosa's five-year tenure, with 2023 seeing the worst year of loadshedding to date.