Thursday, 18 March 2021 20:47

Staff Reporter.

It cost R20.25m to stave off load-shedding for Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini's memorial service on Thursday.

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha told TimesLive that the power utility used nine open cycle gas turbines (OCGTs) to keep the lights on — at a huge  financial cost.

"To keep the lights on for these four hours, Eskom has had to supplement the supply by burning more diesel than it would have had to.

"Between 9.45am and 2.15pm, to supplement supply Eskom ran five of its own OCGTs and four IPP [independent power producers] OCGTs. The average cost per OCGT is R500,000 an hour. Each OCGT produces 150MW of energy," he said.

Based on these figures, it cost R2.25m per OCGT for the four-and-a-half hours. For nine OCGTs, this means R20.25m was spent.

This came after the power utility said on Wednesday night that load-shedding would be called off between 10am and 2pm on Thursday to allow the national to mourn King Zwelithini.

"This extraordinary measure has been implemented to allow the nation to witness a key and historical event at this difficult time in the life of the Zulu nation. Afterwards, load-shedding will be implemented and continue as previously communicated," Eskom said.

Mantshantsha said that Eskom operates 20 OCGTs and also relies on IPP OCGTs to supplement any shortages. He said these could be run as needed.

The power utility said that it will communicate timeously should there be any significant changes to the power system.