No More Load Shedding? Don't Rejoice Just Yet

2016-05-15 22:43

Load Shedding.

First experienced in South Africa around April of 2008.

By March of 2014 we were already bracing for long, cold winters as our state power utility Eskom warned the nation of it's inability to keep up with electricity supply.

Then last week our President joyfully informed us that Load Shedding was a thing of the past.

No more load shedding? Don't rejoice just yet.

Before we pop the champagne and celebrate our victory over dark forces, let us unpack this announcement and shine a light on how we got here.

Quoting megawatt production and supply capacity from power stations would be a snore fest quite honestly. To the man in the street who is paying higher tariff rates and more per month on his electricity bill, Eskom's data on consumption is like the number of illegal immigrants crossing into our borders. We know its high; we know something needs to be done; but quite frankly there's not much we can do about it.

What we do know is that Eskom asked NERSA (National Energy Regulator Of South Africa) for R22Billion for the 2016/17 financial year, and they were told to bugger off (in more diplomatic terms of course.)

Eskom then said they couldn't guarantee that the country's lights would remain on. A veiled threat, but a threat nonetheless. NERSA subsequently granted Eskom R11.2Billion.

Still not convinced that this would solve the problem, Eskom took it's brightest (oh the irony) and sharpest analysts (and I'm guessing anyone and everyone in management who felt they deserved a holiday paid for by the taxpayer) to a 3-day retreat in order to start the spend on that R11.2Billion paycheck in earnest.

Somewhere between a cut of Wagyu steak and a glass of Pinot Noir (note previous point above as to who was footing the bill for this retreat), an Eskom genius (already on the WWF endangered species list) realized that consumption figures for electricity were falling. This would ease the need for electricity supply. This in turn would take the strain off the power utility. Ultimately meaning that Eskom no longer needed as much as R22Billion to keep the lights on! EUREKA!

Armed with this fantastic news on Day 1 of the retreat, management decided that 2 more days of pampering were in order. After all, the country had just been saved a whopping R11Billion electricity bill!

When management finally did present these new findings to Number 1, Nkandla was forgotten and the new Presidential Jet was ordered.

The South African Money Tree is so fertile and our cup just runneth over and over and over.

Blessed is this land we call Africa!

Economists and analysts will tell you that true electricity consumption is down for the following reasons:

* Eskom electricity production has been declining since 2007

* Consumers and businesses are becoming more electricity efficient

* The biggest consumer of electricity (mines, smelters and big business) have been laying off staff, shutting down operations and down-scaling

* Alternate energy producers have entered the playing field

But let's be honest, what do economists and analysts really know?

None of them have R250million homes or fly in R4Billion jets.


Eskom not implementing load shedding and our government celebrating this, is like celebrating our annual road death toll figures coming down because we've started removing our tarred roads and national highways.

I won't be celebrating the unemployment levels, loss of mine jobs, inefficiencies at our power stations and consumers just so annoyed and frustrated at load shedding that they've had to find alternate means to keep their lights on.

I certainly won't be celebrating the news that load shedding is a thing of the past.

Those dark forces will simply come back in another form to bite us in the butt!

If there is any lesson to be learned from this whole sorry saga, and one that our esteemed ministers (sleeping and awake) should certainly take heed to, it's this:

If we fail to plan, we should plan to fail.

News24 Voices Terms & Conditions


AB praises selfless skipper

2010-11-21 18:15

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.