Load shedding: We will know more by next week - Cabinet

Eskom and government will soon know more about what must be done to stabilise the grid, Cabinet said in a statement on Friday.

It said that following a briefing by deputy president David Mabuza on developments at Eskom and electricity constraints, the Technical Review Panel - appointed by the Eskom board and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan - will have some preliminary results by next week.

The panel was tasked with reviewing Eskom's power stations.

"This will help government to put in place a more rigorous programme of power plant maintenance, which will help stabilise the generation system over the next few weeks and months," it said.

Cabinet also said that, according to Mabuza, "good progress has since been made in acquiring sufficient coal and diesel supplies and with water reserves at pumped storage stations at hydro-electricity plants".

This is the first week that Eskom has not implemented load shedding following days of Stage 4 load shedding as a result, in part, of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique. The power shortage was so critical at the time that Eskom also implemented Stage 2 load shedding during the night.

Gordhan later held a media briefing where he indicated that they would know more about the scope of the problem within 10 to 14 days - as soon as a team of engineers had assessed the power plants. He could not say at the time by when load shedding would cease. 

Among some of Eskom's problems include aging power plants - resulting in unplanned breakages, insufficient maintenance and coal plants, such as Medupi and Kusile, which are badly designed.

In its statement, Cabinet also addressed Eskom's dire financial situation.

"Further options are being considered to support the power utility. Electricity generation has been stable this week with a low risk of load shedding. However, there are still a high number of unplanned outages that create a disruptive effect on the overall system," it said.

It appealed to all South Africans to implement "energy saving practices". 

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