Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa warned of a dark and cold winter if Eskom’s grid remained constrained, saying that Eskom needed about 66,000 megawatts to bridge the gap between demand and supply.
Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has warned South Africans to brace themselves for a difficult winter plagued by higher stages of load shedding.
He was speaking in the east of Pretoria at the site of the collapsed electricity pylons.
Ramokgopa warned of a dark and cold winter if Eskom’s grid remained constrained, saying that Eskom needed about 66,000 megawatts to bridge the gap between demand and supply.
He said that the unpredictability of the country’s fragile grid, coupled with high demand was undermining Eskom’s ability to provide a consistent supply of energy.
“I’ll be brutally honest. It’s going to be an exceptionally difficult winter. We know that in summer conditions, the deficit is 6,000 megawatts. When we go into winter, the peak can go up to 37,000 megawatts. But at the current rate of trips and failures, it’s going to be an exceptionally difficult winter.”
He said that efforts were being made to avoid a “worst-case scenario” by ensuring that the power outages did not surpass stage 6.
“We are doing everything possible that we don’t go beyond stage six. If there’s any changes to that, we will communicate it.”
As the cold begins to sweep in, South African households and businesses have been urged to drastically reduce their electricity usage.
Ramokgopa said that despite measures taken since the declaration of the national state of disaster on electricity in February, to mitigate the impact of severe load shedding, the worst was yet to come.
He warned that higher stages of load shedding would be experienced during winter unless demand was reduced and Eskom ramped up its generation capacity.
“The biggest problem that is confronting us is the unreliability of the generation units. You can see that within the space of less than 48 hours, we move from no load shedding to stage five. There’s a lot we can do to bring down demand without compromising our ability to meet our daily requirements as we go about life.”
By: Veronica Mokhoali
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