Enjoy it while it lasts … loadshedding suspended for another week

South Africans will say hello to the new year with the lights on after Eskom announced the continued suspension of loadshedding.

The cash-strapped power utility’s crisis communication manager Menzi Mngomezulu confirmed on Friday that rolling blackouts will remain suspended until January 5.

The utility said this is possible thanks to improved generation performance, lower demand for the holiday period, as well as sufficient emergency reserves.

Consistent improvement

A post on Eskom’s social media reads: “Friday, 29 December 2023: Due to consistent improvement in available generating capacity, loadshedding will continue to be suspended until next week Friday at 4pm.

“Eskom will closely monitor the power system and communicate should any significant changes occur.”

The utility typically sees a big decline in demand over the festive season, which historically allowed it to suspend power cuts from before Christmas until businesses start ramping up operations in the new year.

However, in the 2022/2023 festive season, its generating capacity shortfall was so severe that it had to implement loadshedding on several occasions.

Energy action plan

Eskom resumed its power cuts on January 2 after suspending loadshedding during the 2022/2023 festive season.

In October, Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa confirmed this during a media briefing about the implementation of the energy action plan in Pretoria.

Eskom announced at the time that it was suspending loadshedding due to improved performance in its generation fleet.

During the briefing in Pretoria, Ramokgopa stressed that Eskom’s ability to extend loadshedding suspensions is due to the efficiency of its generation units, which were producing more power than planned.

He mentioned that the increased adoption of rooftop solar had reduced grid demand, with an estimated 4 500MW of rooftop solar installations, nearly double that of 2022.

“People say demand is going down because of rooftop solar – yes, that is what we want, that is what we are encouraging,” said Ramokgopa.

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