Eskom caught everyone off guard on Monday, implementing Stage 6 load shedding for the first time in South Africa. We’re back down to Stage 4 for the rest of Tuesday, but the shock to the system has even left the experts scratching their heads over this national crisis.
Experts weigh in on load shedding crisis
Earlier in the day, Pravin Gordhan tried to downplay the severity of the issue, calling it “manageable”: His nonchalant approach didn’t really win anyone over – and his claims have not been echoed by industry professionals. Ted Blom is an independent energy analyst, and he labelled the extreme blackouts as something that “should only happen once every 100 years“.
“It is an unsurprising confluence of events, probably an event that should only happen once every 100 years. The mechanical breakdowns at Medupi were unexpected, but Eskom still can’t explain them. As for wet coal, it’s like baby powder. It clings to the conveyer, rather than going into the fire – it still shouldn’t be happening.”
More load shedding “for the years ahead”
Meanwhile, electricity expert Chris Yelland is concerned about the speed with which this crisis can be resolved. He predicts episodes like this will happen intermittently over the next few years. For him, this isn’t a blip:
“It is a serious problem no matter what anybody says. We have never been on Stage 6 before and it doesn’t really look like much light on the horizon in terms of this problem being resolved quickly. I think we gonna be experiencing the intermittent load shedding on and off in the next coming years.”
Eskom “must face legal action
Mike Levington is a senior management figure from the clean energy sector. Unsurprisingly, he feels the time has come for South Africa to focus solely on renewable energy generation and dump Eskom altogether. Taking to his Twitter account, the industry stalwart punted the possibility of legal action against the utility.
I suspect that we are starting to genuinely enter class action suit territory here.
— Mike Levington (@navitassa) December 10, 2019
This wouldn’t be the first call for the public to file a lawsuit against Eskom. De Beers Attorney’s suggested there was grounds for a case earlier this year, as businesses have been forced to minimise operations thanks to load shedding. This cuts-off their potential earnings by a considerable amount and also affects materials and equipment. You can find out more about their legal challenge here.