Eskom has submitted its long-term forecasts to the Standing Committee on Appropriations (SCOA), and it does not make for light reading. The firm revealed that load shedding up to Stage 3 is likely to remain with SA for the next 18 months – after another round of scheduled outages were implemented this week.
Load shedding forecast for South Africa – 18 months ahead:
During their presentation to Parliament, Eskom also stated that the next three months could be troublesome for us all. They stated that load shedding is likely to be in place 'right up until December' before we get some respite over Christmas. South Africa, therefore, is likely to experience intermittent power cuts for the foreseeable future:
For the remainder of the 2020-2021 financial year, it is envisaged that load shedding will be required from now until December.
- Should we lose 11 000 MW from the grid during the early part of next year, Eskom will require load shedding in February – March 2021.[*]It is believed that load shedding will also be required in between June and July 2021, based on the same power loses.[*]Eskom also predicts that 'load shedding up to Stage 3' could be employed intermittently up to March 2022 – some 18 months from now.
Why can't Eskom keep the lights on?
The utility has also pointed the finger 'inclement weather' and 'welding issues' for their sluggish progress on maintenance jobs. However, it is the old faithful that shoulders most of the blame. Eskom's presentation revealed that Medupi and Kusile – their two most problematic plants – would continue to cause problems for the country while they are being fixed:
"Reduced demand due to COVID restrictions gave Eskom the opportunity to execute additional short-term maintenance to address mostly partial load losses but that these restrictions also meant the postponement of some reliability maintenance which will have to be caught up later."
"Until the defects at Medupi and Kusile have been addressed and until most of the reliability maintenance on the fleet has been executed, the Generation fleet remains unreliable and unpredictable with the risk of load shedding. These power cuts are an essential 'last resort lever' to protect the system."Eskom statement