Eskom Announces Weekend Relief from Load Shedding Crisis

  • Eskom, South Africa's power utility, has announced a temporary suspension of load shedding for the weekend, marking one of the longest periods without power outages this year.
  • This respite is attributed to the improved performance of Eskom's power generation fleet and reduced breakdowns, primarily due to three units at the Kusile power station returning to service.
  • While the break from load shedding is a welcome relief, the economic impact of ongoing power outages, estimated at up to R150 billion in lost tax revenue, underscores the need for continued investment in infrastructure to ensure sustained energy security.
Eskom planning a load shedding-free weekend

In a welcome announcement for South Africans, Eskom, the country’s power utility, has declared that load shedding will be temporarily suspended for the upcoming weekend, offering a much-needed respite to businesses and residents who have endured a year plagued by near-constant power outages. According to Eskom, the suspension will commence from 22h00 on Thursday and last until 16h00 on Monday, October 23, 2023.

This brief hiatus in load shedding, if realized, would represent one of the longest streaks of uninterrupted electricity supply this year. Eskom attributes this relief to the consistently strong performance of its generation fleet and the anticipated reduction in weekend electricity demand.

As of the latest data released by Eskom, breakdowns in power supply have diminished to 12,925MW, while planned maintenance operations account for 4,889MW of generation capacity. This news indicates a positive shift in the energy availability factor, which highlights the effectiveness of Eskom’s power plants when compared to the same period in 2021 and 2022.

Improved performance in minimizing breakdowns is critical to Eskom’s strategy to contain load shedding during the summer months. While these developments bring hope to the electricity situation, the data also reveals that overall energy supplies haven’t seen a substantial increase. Much of the improvement can be attributed to a decrease in electricity demand.

A notable factor contributing to the improved energy performance is the recent commissioning of three units at the Kusile power station. Units 1 and 3 have returned to service after a year-long outage, and unit 4 was brought back online in September. Unit 2 is expected to follow suit in November, with unit 5 scheduled for synchronization in December.

The temporary suspension of load shedding is a welcome relief for South Africans who have been grappling with the dire economic repercussions of persistent outages. Businesses, both large and small, have borne the brunt of these disruptions, facing substantial costs in efforts to mitigate the impacts and maintain operations.

Edward Kieswetter, the Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (SARS), has underscored the profound effect of load shedding on the nation’s economy. He estimates that the financial toll on taxes could reach as high as R150 billion, a substantial loss that the country can ill afford as it grapples with an expanding budget deficit.

While this respite from load shedding is certainly good news for all South Africans, it remains important for Eskom to continue investing in infrastructure, enhancing energy generation capacity, and implementing measures to reduce the risk of future outages. The nation’s path to sustained energy security still has hurdles to overcome, but this temporary suspension offers a glimmer of hope and a much-needed break from the challenges that have defined the year.



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