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The publication of Stage 16 draft load-shedding protocols by the National Rationalised Specifications Association of South Africa (NRS) prove this fact.
The only way South Africa will be able to lessen load-shedding is through the liberalisation of the electricity market to allow for more private-sector participation.
The publication of Stage 16 draft load-shedding protocols by the National Rationalised Specifications Association of South Africa (NRS) is the clearest admission yet by the ANC government that they have failed to solve the load-shedding crisis.
Contrary to the false claims made by President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa that they were on course to end load-shedding by 2024, the stage 16 load-shedding protocols are an acknowledgement that half of South Africa’s generation capacity could be wiped off at a moment’s notice, leaving the country within touching distance of a total grid collapse.
For a government that is failing to get the basics right on the electricity front, the escalation of load-shedding protocols is hardly surprising. The deadline for returning Koeberg’s Unit 1 has been pushed to November and Unit 2 cannot be taken offline for refurbishment while Unit 1 remains out of commission. As long as Koeberg continues to operate at half its capacity, with no certainty on whether its licence will be renewed in 2024, there is a significant risk that load-shedding will be escalated even further.
The belligerent Minister of Energy, Gwede Mantashe, continues to sabotage the liberalisation of the electricity market to allow for more private sector participation. The Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill, a key piece of legislation that would provide for the establishment of an independent entity to allow for a competitive electricity trading market, is still yet to be introduced in Parliament.
Despite attempts to downplay the significance of the published stage 16 draft load-shedding protocols in some quarters, the NRS did confirm that the revision was made necessary ‘…because, since 2019, the performance of Eskom generation’s fleet coal-fired power stations has deteriorated to a level which may now necessitate National Central Control (NCC) and/or the [System Operator] to institute higher levels of load-shedding beyond Stage 8’. Essentially, Eskom’s power fleet is still unreliable and could shut down at short notice.
At 2900MW of available capacity, as reported by Eskom on Sunday, South Africa could be in a worse-off position were it not for the remarkable efforts by South African households and businesses to increase small embedded generation. Were it not for the 4000MW in solar panel installations by households and businesses, the country could be averaging between stages 5 or 6 when juxtaposed with the available capacity from Eskom.
Issued by Kevin Mileham MP - DA Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy