With reports that power outages cost South Africa between R20-billion and R80-billion a month, newly appointed acting CEO of Eskom, Brian Molefe, says that if the utility didn't schedule maintenance, the cost to the economy would be much more than the money lost because of load shedding.
When we do maintenance we have to shut down certain generators. That is when we have load shedding. Maintenance is necessary which is why we will ask for South Africa’s patience.
Image courtesy of Eyewitness News
Molefe advised that Eskom would need an additional 2 000 to 3 000 megawatts to allow for maintenance without disruptions to South Africa’s day to day operations.
He says that it will require a team effort to create the extra capacity and turn the utility around. Although moral at Eskom is currently low, he says that he plans to lift the spirits of the employees. Molefe has already met with the Executive committee and Board since his appointment on Friday 17 April.
Listen to the full conversation on 702's John Robbie Show:
Load shedding schedules
Over the past week, Eskom's load shedding schedule has fluctuated between Stage 1 and Stage 3. Alwie Lester Eskom's Western Cape provincial head says that grid is stable and that the utility tries to inform the public and key stakeholders as quickly as possible when there are any changes.
He says that Eskom has made a conscious decision that plant maintenance is critical to sustaining the integrity of the grid going forward.
Maintenance is definitely one of the key issues we struggle with. It was a choice for Eskom between keeping the lights on and being plurant in terms of the maintenance regime.
The various load shedding stages:
According to Lester, there is a slight difference between the load shedding stages that are experienced in the Western Cape, in comparison to the rest of the country.
Stage 1: This requires up to 1 000 megawatts of load to be shed and is experienced the same across the country.
Stage 2: This requires up to 2 000 megawatts of load to be shed and is experienced the same across the country.
Stage 3: This requires up to 4 000 megawatts of load to be shed and is experienced throughout the country, except in the Western Cape.
The City of Cape Town and Eskom in the Western Cape have agreed on the following two categories of stage three load shedding.
Stage 3a: This requires up to 3 000 megawatts of load to be shed. Stage 3b: This requires up to 4 000 megawatts of load to be shed.
For the latest on load shedding schedules visit the Eyewitness News load shedding feature.
Listen to the full conversation on CapeTalk's Breakfast with Kieno Kammies: