Eskom delivered a State of the System address for the previous financial year on Monday – and it wasn’t exactly a light read. The grim facts about load shedding expose what a dreadful year the utility has had during the pandemic. However, hope springs eternal – and one executive claims that the end of ‘rotational power cuts’ is just about in sight.

When will load shedding come to an end?

Officials presented their data to the media earlier today, and there were some eye-catching figures. South Africa has spent more than a quarter of the new year under load shedding regulations. Old plants and crumbling infrastructure means that there will be no quick fix – but we do have a tentative date for when things *might* get back to normal for Eskom…

  • – With load shedding in place until Wednesday, that figure will rise to 21 days of load shedding, with 19 at Stage 2.
  • – By Wednesday, South Africa with have spent over 28% of the year under load shedding.
  • – Their new forecasts claim that plant performance will ‘be back to acceptable levels’ by late 2021.
  • – The public is therefore cautioned to expect an increased risk of power cuts ‘for the next six months or so’.
  • – However, according to the firm’s COO, that does mean that things will look ‘much better’ by September 2021.

‘Six more months of unreliable supply’ – Eskom

Jan Oberholzer told South Africans to buckle-in for the next six months, as load shedding threatens to persist throughout the winter and a possible third wave of COVID-19. Eskom’s short-term output is also under scrutiny, with the current energy shortage triggering a ‘code red’ at the state-owned company. Oberholzer, however, shared a small crumb of comfort:

“The unreliability of the aging fleet, with an uncertainty of about 6 000MW of capacity at any given time, will remain until the reliability maintenance programme is able to address the historical maintenance backlog.”

“The power system remains vulnerable and volatile with the risk of further load shedding significantly reduced after the completion of the reliability maintenance by September 2021.” 

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Presh JM Reporter

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