Struggling Eskom maintains stage 2 load shedding as panic swirls

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A electricity pylon.
A electricity pylon.
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  • Eskom announced in a statement that the stage 1 loadshedding of that evening would escalate to stage 2 loadshedding at 05:00 on Monday morning.
  • Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said it would be inaccurate to blame the return of load shedding directly on the pandemic.
  • South Africa experienced its worst year on record in terms of loadshedding in 2020.


As Eskom implemented stage 2 of load shedding at the beginning of a new week, speculation has gotten in full swirl yet again that the country's energy constraints may be worst than the struggling power utility is letting on.

On Sunday afternoon Eskom announced in a statement that the stage 1 load shedding of that evening would escalate to stage 2 load shedding at 05:00 on Monday morning, citing delay in the return to service of two units at Kusile power station.

South Africa experienced its worst year on record in terms of load shedding in 2020, despite the fact that the national lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid-19 novel coronavirus brought various industries to a halt for months.

While the lockdown created conditions for a curtailed demand last year, the lockdown also meant that technicians and specialist engineers from abroad could not come into the country to conduct regular assessments and maintenance of equipment and infrastructure for an extended period.

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha told Fin24 on Monday morning that while the pandemic's second wave made operations at Eskom challenging, it would be inaccurate to blame the return of loadshedding directly on the pandemic.

"To say Covid-19 forced us into load shedding would be stretching it. Sure, it does make things difficult," said Mantshantsha said.

Eskom did not respond to additional questions from Fin24 at the time of publishing. In their latest load shedding alert, Eskom said the two units at Kusile would be restored on Monday and that units were returned to service at Kriel, Duvha and Grootvlei power stations.

It also said that despite Eskom’s "stringent measures to manage the impact of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic on the operations, we are experiencing some impact on operations, including our suppliers". 

"For example, at the Medupi Power Station, we have had 48 positive cases out of a pool of 75 contractors, which has negatively affected our ability to [execute] work as planned." 

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