Tue. Oct 22nd, 2019

No load shedding this winter thanks to Eskom’s winter rates

eskom load sheddingWell, possibly no load shedding. According to energy expert Chris Yelland, consumers will be disincentivised from using electricity due to the spike in rates.

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The last time we had rotational power cuts was in March. Since then, Eskom has been increasing its maintenance efforts, which means the power utility has about an additional 4 000 megawatts of generation capacity.

The good news is that the increased capacity will most likely stave off load shedding during the remaining winter months. However, that comes at a price.

Keeping the lights on is a double-edged sword

Speaking to 702, energy expert Chris Yelland explained that Eskom winter prices kicked in, meaning that electricity rates will be three times higher for industrial customers during peak times. He explains:

“Energy intensive users are really disincentivised from using electricity. […] The combination of increased availability and decreased demand is enough to get us through this winter, I believe.”

Eskom’s head of generation Andrew Etzinger told Eyewitness that the power utility’s winter plan is “in full swing,” despite the resignation of CEO Phakamani Hadebe.

How will Phakamani Hadebe’s resignation affect Eskom?

When asked how Hadebe’s resignation will affect Eskom, Yelland said Eskom still has a chief operating officer responsible for day-to-day operations and maintenance at Eskom. Yelland adds:

“In that sense, the loss of the CEO is not the end of the world because there is a responsible person handling the operations. But this does not get away from Eskom’s financial problems.”

Yelland explains that Hadebe is a “financial person”; his resignation means that Eskom is left with liquidity problems. Yelland added that we will hear about Eskom’s bailout plan at the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on 20 June.

What is Eskom’s Winter Plan?

Back in April, Eskom confirmed in a press release that citizens “can make a huge difference by rallying towards the common cause of using electricity efficiently.”

Eskom’s winter plan included more coal-fired generation capacity and public implementation of energy-saving initiatives to limit rotational load shedding to Stage 1. At the time, Hadebe explained:

“We have done an extensive winter plan and review of our power system and identified the problems. While the plan gives us confidence that we may go through winter with no or limited load shedding, we are mindful of the potential of risks on a very tight power system which may result in shifts on the power system and which could result in load shedding.”

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