The Minister of Electricity apologized to South Africans on Monday for the phase 6 load shedding that was implemented over the weekend.
“I really want to sincerely apologize for putting us South Africans through a very difficult time of intensive load shedding,” Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said on Monday.
“The power of fate is unacceptable. Higher stages of load shedding, especially phase 6, should not become a norm,” says the minister.
“It should be an extraordinary event.”
Ramokgopa says that due to the cold last week, Eskom had a few difficult days behind the scenes before the power supplier was finally forced on Thursday to activate phase 6 to protect the power grid.
Ramokgopa says this is simply a reconfirmation that the network is still vulnerable, “although we have seen significant relief over the past 21 days”.
“What we have always known is that we have to reach a point where we can build resilience and reliability of these power generation units and create a buffer when these units give up… (Ensuring that) there are sufficient reserves that we will allow not to have to increase of phase.”
Ramokgopa says Eskom’s power stations are particularly vulnerable to boiler tube leaks.
“This is the continuous failure that we experience at all the power stations. This is a technical shortcoming that requires all of our attention. It sometimes has to do with the quality of coal.”
The minister says he has already held discussions with the country’s leading universities in this regard. “We tried to see if we could find people who had studied it so that we could resolve the situation.”
Ramokgopa says Eskom is doing everything possible in the meantime to prevent the introduction of load shedding.
“Our task is twofold. The first is that load shedding ends in the shortest possible time and then makes it possible to create additional capacity and a buffer so that when we enter the next winter season, we have enough generation capacity to withstand the winter conditions.”