There’s nothing quite like an EskomSePush notification to remind you that all is not well with this country.
When you start thanking whatever or whoever you pray to that you’ll only be without power for two and a half hours, you know things are bad.
There’s also the relief that you feel when you realise that your area will only be hit after 10PM, which means that the dinner you planned on cooking can still happen.
What a time to be alive.
Back in March, when we were officially confined to our homes, government was quick to assure everyone that they were working with the entire energy sector to ensure that South Africa does not face power shortages and load shedding during the lockdown.
I’m not sure what that was supposed to look like, but the lights just went out for a number of people throughout South Africa, so it clearly didn’t work out.
Yep, it’s back…again.
As of 8AM this morning, stage 2 is underway with a high chance of stage 3 this evening.
Business Day has Eskom’s latest explanation for the blackouts:
“This load-shedding has been caused by an increase in plant breakdowns during the night and early hours of the morning,” it said in a statement.
“The delay of the return to service of two units at Duvha and Tutuka and the breakdown of four units at Kriel, Tutuka and Kendal have resulted in the need for load-shedding today. These units removed more than 2,000MW of capacity from the system. Eskom is working hard to return as many of these generation units to service,” said the utility.
During a Cape Town Press Club event on Tuesday, CEO André de Ruyter detailed how the COVID-19 outbreak thwarted refurbishment and repair efforts, and stated that this meant the inevitable was bound to happen, so this isn’t entirely unexpected.
As it stands, 2020 is shaping up to be “the worst year yet for load shedding” – even worse than 2019, which recorded 1352 GW/h of cuts over 530 hours.
According to researchers at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), reports The Citizen, 2020 is expected to reach 1 383 GW of cuts.
By 2022, predictions suggest that energy shortfall will reach 4 500 GW/h, at a cost to the economy of anything from R60 billion to R120 billion.
CSIR researcher Jarrad Wright reckons that “the lion’s share of the rolling blackouts will likely to be implemented at stage 2”, but Eskom says the generating plant is performing at low levels of reliability, and if it experiences an unexpected shift, such as more breakdowns, load shedding levels could change at a moment’s notice.
In other words, we’re pretty much in the dark when it comes to how this is going to play out for the remainder of the year.
Wright added that load shedding should continue for two or three more years.
For now, get the candles ready. You may as well buy in bulk.
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