The electricity crisis in South Africa is worsening... and the resignation of a leader in "Eskom" - Energy

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  • South Africa braces for worst year of blackouts
  • Eskom warns against unloading
  • Closing units due to maintenance operations exacerbates the crisis
  • The electricity crisis has affected the economy and turned into a national crisis

The electricity crisis in South Africa has become intractable to all proposed solutions, and it requires a new plan to solve the load-lightening disaster.

In this regard, the state-owned Eskom company said that it will work on rationing electricity again, after closing several electricity generating units; Either to make repairs or not to run as expected.

load separation

South Africa was well on its way to surpassing the annual record for load shedding after controlling blackouts, a measure used to prevent the grid from failing.

Electricity crisis in South Africa
The electricity crisis in South Africa – Photo courtesy of Quartz Africa

According to a report by the state-owned Scientific and Industrial Research Council, the country cut 1,054 GWh in April, compared to 2,521 GWh last year.

The deadlock within Eskom, which is responsible for generating 80% of the country’s electricity from coal burning, has also caused disruptions to daily life and economic activity alike.

The electricity crisis has increased pressure on the company’s CEO, Andre de Ruyter, and government programs to build new generating units have seen several delays.

In addition, the company is grappling with huge debts and the neglect of the ongoing reorganization process, with the CEO of the generation division, Philippe Ducache, resigning on Monday, May 9, after spending 26 years at the company.

Meanwhile, Eskom and the government are working on plans to tap $8.5 billion in funding — pledged by Western countries at the COP26 climate summit — with the goal of shifting the country away from coal.

Eskom crisis

The situation has worsened within the electricity company Eskom after the announcement of the resignation of CEO of the generation division Philippe Ducash.

According to the company’s statement, May 31 will be Dukash’s last day at the company, and Group CEO, Rolani Methbula, will take over the position temporarily until recruitment begins.

In a separate statement, the company warned citizens of disruptions as a result of electricity restriction during peak times in the evening, which means the continuing electricity crisis in South Africa.

Currently, the company has 3,049 MW off-grid due to scheduled maintenance, in addition to unavailable capacities of 14,985 MW due to faults.

Electricity crisis in South Africa
Eskom station – Photo from Business Tech

The company indicated that loads are reduced during peak times in the evening – despite its ability to fully meet demand during the day – in the event of failures in the available capacity – currently -.

The company said it expects to return to service the generating units at two power plants in the Cosell and Kendal areas, but if they fail to operate as expected, the situation in the electricity system will worsen and load separation will be imminent.

The delay in returning to service one generating unit in Matemba and Lithabo, as well as two units each in Hendrina, and three power plants in Totoka City, resulted in a further restriction of evening peak electricity.

In turn, Eskom appealed to all citizens to continue to use electricity in moderation, especially between the hours of 5 and 9 in the morning, and from 4 to 10 in the evening, in an attempt to reduce the electricity crisis in South Africa.

History of the electricity crisis

South Africa has been suffering from a load separation crisis since 2007, and it has worsened in recent years and this has affected the economy and contributed to the decline in GDP growth.

Eskom has become unable to deal on its own with the electricity crisis in South Africa, whether by increasing maintenance or delaying the shutdown of old, poorly performing coal plants, and failure to deal with the crisis could turn it into a national disaster.

This will require the solidarity of all stakeholders to develop a new plan to solve the crisis, as they did earlier in the nineties of the last century, through the “Electricity for All” project, which received full support from the government, Eskom and municipalities, and was universally praised.

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