Freedom Front Plus
Freedom Front Plus

Continuous load shedding for years: Wish Eskom the best, but become as energy independent as possible

Continuous load shedding is a reality.

The top management of Eskom, including the board chairperson, Mr Mpho Makwana, the chief executive officer, Mr André de Ruyter, the chief operating officer, Mr Jan Oberholzer, and the head of generation, Mr Thomas Conradie, announced in a detailed report on the situation at Eskom that continuous load shedding should be expected for at least two years.

The underlying message is clear: There is no quick fix for power supply in South Africa.

This does not take away from the fact that everything that can be done immediately should be done immediately. In other words, corruption, the delivery of poor-quality coal, and employees who fail to perform their duties must be addressed at once.

These are all matters within Eskom's control and ordinary citizens are mere spectators of a process that could either improve or worsen the predicament in which they find themselves – depending on how it is handled.

So, ordinary citizens must take responsibility for what is in their control.

While experts argue about whether or not renewable energy will solve the country's problems; or whether the future does lie in coal; or whether green hydrogen can save the earth; or whether nuclear power is the answer, households and smaller businesses can only implement the solutions that they are able to afford.

Solar systems connected to the grid that also offer backup during load shedding could make life much easier and limit losses for smaller consumers.

Grid-tied systems have the added advantage of making surplus power available to other consumers, but when the grid is down (like during load shedding) those solar panels on the roof are useless.

To be completely independent requires a much larger investment and, on top of that, all surplus power (when the batteries are fully charged) goes to waste.

A hybrid system that makes photovoltaic power available when the grid is down and also supplies backup power to some extent offers the best of both options.

This solution may very well not solve all power problems, but it does mitigate the impact of load shedding and ensures some degree of economic activity.

Larger businesses can procure their own diesel generators and supplement Eskom's own fleet of open-cycle gas turbines, while economic giants and municipalities could even consider building small modular nuclear power stations.

These types of companies can more easily sample large capital expenditures and pay them off over a longer period of time than less capital-intensive ones.

Unfortunately, most municipalities are not even able to pay their own Eskom accounts and can, therefore, not make use of this opportunity.

Another possibility that has not been given much attention yet is community-based undertakings to generate power.

That is the type of plan that the civil rights organisation, AfriForum, announced over the weekend. Such plans can be embraced with enthusiasm.

In a previous era, enormous enterprises like Santam, Sanlam and Avbob were founded, not primarily to make a profit (although profit in the world of business is essential), but to accomplish together what cannot be accomplished on one's own.

At that stage, it was to make provision for damage, retirement and death. Nowadays, the most urgent need is power supply.

Over the past week, the great extent of the impact of power outages on the agricultural sector became evident in shocking ways.

It makes the agricultural sector a logical source of funds for a community-based power firm. And so the past, when agricultural capital was used to benefit the entire economy, will repeat itself.

The FF Plus is reiterating its call for the electricity market to be opened up. Anyone with the entrepreneurial spirit and ability to contribute to power supply must be allowed to do so within the constraints of safety and technical standards.

The political consequences for a government that can no longer turn off the proverbial water and lights are far-reaching.

The time has come to overthrow the ANC government, both at the polls and in the sector of public enterprises, like Eskom.



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