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"Eskom Accused of Cloaking Higher Stages of Load-Shedding, Claim Denied"

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

Concerns over the critical issue of load-shedding in South Africa have been sparked into fresh public debate, this wave initiated by the Democratic Alliance's shadow minister of public enterprises, Ghaleb Cachalia. According to Cachalia, South Africa's national power utility, Eskom, has been surpassing stage 6 load-shedding descriptors, advancing into the territories of stages 7 and 8.

This allegation comes hot on the heels of Eskom's record-setting levels of load-shedding notched in the month of September. After hitting 6,000 MW limits, the power company ceased reporting the quantum of megawatts it was shedding.

Eskom was forced into stage 6 of load-shedding due to prolonged delays in restoring numerous generation units back to service. This situation was further compounded by the unexpected breakdown of four generating units and the deferred return of units at the Kendal, Matla, and Matimba power stations.

Though Eskom reported the shedding of 6,362 MW of power, a level corresponding to stage 7 load-shedding, on Tuesday 12th September, it subsequently implored the public to economize power usage so as not to escalate stages of load-shedding. Despite being at stage 6, this appeal was largely deciphered as a coded warning for stage 7 by most media houses.

Stage 6 load-shedding persisted over the week, and reports of 6,450 MW being cut from the grid, yet again a stage 7 equivalent, on Thursday, emerged. However, the extent of the load-shedding on Monday 11th, Wednesday 13th, and Friday 15th September was not relayed to the public.

Such withholding of information was observed by energy expert Adil Nchabeleng as an intentional move by Eskom to avoid the announcement of stage 8 or higher load-shedding. Cachalia shares these view stating that South Africa was definitely sitting above stage 6 load-shedding given the frequencies of the power cuts.

Amidst these allegations, Eskom has strongly defended its position and denied sailing into stage 7 or 8 waters. The public has been cautioned against misinformation from certain media houses, and the categoric denial of ever signaling a move into stage 7 or 8 load-shedding was issued by Eskom spokesperson Daphne Mokwena.

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