Save power or face total blackout

2008-01-23 00:00

ON the day the cabinet announced that it is treating SA’s electricity problems as a crisis and will take charge to find solutions, Eskom has warned that unless electricity users start saving energy seriously, we risk a complete national blackout.

At a media briefing at the provincial headquarters in Pietermaritzburg yesterday, Prince Moyo, regional engineering manager for distribution, said load shedding is done in order to prevent a national blackout. He said that if this occurred, it could take two days to get the electricity network back up.

“When you try to start the network up, it will just stall again. We don’t want to get there. It is everyone’s worst nightmare.”

He said that the start-up process after a national shutdown would be extremely slow.

“So the load shedding is to mitigate the chances of that occurring.”

Moyo said that South Africans don’t know how to save electricity. “Our education attempts have been overtaken by events here, and now we all have to consider how best to save energy.”

He argued that the building of power stations or the construction of wind turbines are not the solutions to the country’s latest crisis.

“We need patriotism. We don’t want to do this punitively. If we reduced individual consumption by 20%, there would be no need for load shedding. We need to be smart about consumption and if we are, we could delay the construction of more power stations, which just results in worse carbon footprints.”

Moyo said that SA needs to move away from an “entitlement mentality” in this regard.

According to Moyo, Eskom has automatic protection systems that should ensure that a national blackout does not occur here.

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