Eskom announced yesterday in a power alert that 18 67 MW of its generating capacity was lost due to unexpected breakdowns, while 5 807 MW is still out of service for planned maintenance.
The shortfall of 24 424 MW in generating capacity equals more than 42% of what South Africa has at its disposal. If the country were in the grips of a heatwave or icy weather, the impact on the economy could have been much greater than the current stage 6 load shedding.
With stage 6 load shedding, about 37% of electricity consumers are left in the dark, while that figure increases to 50% with stage 8. And it has still not been excluded.
The previous crisis caused by unforeseen breakdowns occurred in December 2022, when approximately 20 000 MW became unavailable. That was during extremely warm weather when summer crops needed to be irrigated, so, demand was high.
Eskom later admitted that it had implemented stage 8 load shedding at short intervals, even though it was never part of the official schedule.
The irony of the power crisis is that poor management and maintenance caused it, but that the consequences are being meticulously managed.
If it happens that the electricity demand exceeds the available generating capacity, the South African power grid will automatically shut down. After that, it will take days to gradually get the grid back up and running again at a frequency of 50 Hz. So, it is in everyone's interest to rather reduce demand artificially.
It should come as no surprise if more than half of South Africa is left without power during the upcoming winter months. The FF Plus strongly encourages all households and businesses, that can afford it, to come up with their own power solutions.
These should also include electricity generation and storage, which will alleviate the pressure on the grid. The urgency of the matter could easily outweigh that holiday planned for the end of the year or replacing your car.
Give us power – South Africa deserves better than the ANC.