Gordhan: Load-shedding 'might' move to Stage 1 – but Eskom sticks to status quo

6th May 2022 By: News24Wire

Gordhan: Load-shedding 'might' move to Stage 1 – but Eskom sticks to status quo

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan on Friday said that Eskom may downgrade load-shedding to Stage 1.

The minister was delivering an address at the Just Transition Framework Multi-Stakeholder Conference. The two-day conference, which started on Thursday, is taking place in Gauteng and is organised by the Presidential Climate Commission.

In his address, Gordhan spoke about the importance of ensuring the transition is inclusive of all stakeholders of society. He also briefly spoke on issues at Eskom, which earlier this week implemented Stage 2 load-shedding, after the country lost generation capacity equivalent to that of three Medupi stations. Load-shedding is expected to continue until Monday.

"What I can tell you for a start is that Level 2 load-shedding might come down to Level 1 load-shedding, from what I heard [on Friday] morning," said Gordhan.

Eskom sticks to status quo

Early on Friday morning, however, Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said in a text message that while the power utility was expecting a reduction in demand from Friday afternoon into the weekend, the slow recovery of generation capacity did not for the moment not allow a reduction in the load-shedding stage yet.

"The status quo remains," he said.

Citing a debate in Parliament on Thursday about the load-shedding challenge, Gordhan said that government takes responsibility for "missteps" in the past - as far back as 1998 and the early 2000s.

Eskom CEO André de Ruyter has previously spoken of the government's role in load-shedding. Government had delayed decisions on the timeous procurement of generation capacity in the past.

Gordhan, however, has said that "we can't cry over spilt milk".

The responsibility is now to make sure there is energy security sooner rather than later, he said.

Furthermore, projects for renewables and "climate-safe base load" generation must move in the "right direction" in terms of quantities that are procured and must consider the cost of electricity for South Africans, he explained.

Among the key objectives to be prioritised in the next two to five years is the restructuring of Eskom and the establishment of the transmission entity and the Independent Systems and Market Operator and developing a competitive generation market.

This task is challenging in the face of achieving a just energy transition, which will involve the decommissioning of coal plants, introducing new technologies and retraining and reskilling workers, he added.