Eskom predicts rolling blackouts not going beyond stage 6 in winter

Eskom says it does not foresee rolling blackouts going beyond stage 6 this winter season. Speaking on the sidelines of the National Demand Side Management Indaba in Johannesburg, Group Executive for Distribution Monde Bala said the generation team is at work to bring additional capacity online to reduce load shedding stages.

The indaba brings together players in the energy sector, business and government to try and find solutions to the electricity crisis.

Eskom says while the grid remains constrained, it does not expect stages to escalate above six this winter period. The power utility says it needs to focus on electricity supply in terms of its plants’ performance, as well as from independent power producers’ perspective.

It says demand side management will help close the gap between demand and supply with the improvement of energy use.

“This point in time, we do not foresee stages beyond stage 6. Again it is important to emphasise that the higher stages of load shedding means that we remain in control of the national grid and our role as the system operator is to ensure that the grid remains stable. Load shedding is that tool that helps us to manage the balance between supply and demand, so as things stand, we are not anticipating any stage higher than stage 6. There are days when we’ll experience stage 6 and it will get better with time,” says Bala.

VIDEO: National Energy Crisis Committee discusses energy challenges

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Eskom says its objective is to end load shedding as soon as possible, without compromising the integrity of the grid.

“We believe we need to continue on this path, of supporting the executive to fix the system for improved electricity availability factor, find opportunities to add more megawatts to the grid amid the third tier is funds, innovative ways and means of ensuring that we manage our energy efficiency, our demand side management,” says Eskom board chairperson Mpho Makwana.

Business says the electricity crisis is hurting them and the quick wins are demand side management (DSM) and finding a sustainable solution.

“When you look at each one of them, you must look at it from a cost point of view as well as from a speed point of view, by all means, DSM is still the cheapest and we are right in the middle of a crunch right now. Instead of us pointing fingers all over, the beauty about DSM is that each one of us can play a little bit…to say what is it we can do in the short term,” says Energy Intensive Users Group’s Fanele Mondi.

“Demand side management is incredibly important and it’s one side of the coin, simply put, we don’t have enough power to supply our needs, manufacturing sector employs just under 1.8 million in this country and contributes about 11% of GDP and to that end we are the engine of growth for the economy. So, while we are looking at our demand side management and the consequences what is it that we are going to do in parallel to assess how we sustain our manufacturing sector and there we are looking at solutions as well,” says Manufacturing Circle’s Philippa Rodseth.

The power utility says it is at an advanced stage in its search for a CEO. It says so far five candidates have been shortlisted and they will go through the selection process. This comes after former CEO André de Ruyter resigned from the position late last year and left the power utility earlier this year.

VIDEO: National Energy Crisis Committee hosts Demand Management Indaba: Phillipa Rodseth [embedded content]

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Source: SABC News (