Blue Metal Tool. Representational Image.
Blue Metal Tool. Representational Image. Killian Eon/

Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa warned South Africans that they can expect load shedding on some days, and added that energy company Eskom is working hard to improve the generation system.

During a media briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday, Ramokgopa stated that many power units are unreliable while Eskom constantly works toward planned maintenance. However, due to under-investment in the power utility and a lack of sufficient maintenance plans, the power grid remains unreliable.

"We will have periods of days of no load shedding and there will be days of load shedding. Eskom has announced its summer outlook and it makes the point that we should not be at more than Stage 4 level of load shedding," Ramokgopa said, SA News reported.

The minister pointed out that when the energy demand was low from Dec. 22 to 29, Eskom used this as an opportunity to carry out planned maintenance, noting that the company had been working throughout the festive season.

"We have been working during the festive season to ensure that we address issues of the fleet to continue to perform but also readying the fleet to ensure that once there is a ramp up of demand, the units are able to return back to service and remain in service while delivering efficient megawatts," he said.

Now that the demand is expected to increase, Eskom will start to decrease its planned maintenance, Ramokgopa added.

He noted that South Africans experienced load shedding in December 2022, but in December 2023, Eskom received three power units back at Kusile, resulting in no load shedding in the country.

Ramokgopa explained that Eskom has reduced repeat failures by implementing an additional buffer for instances of multiple units failing, which eliminates the need for load shedding. However, even if load shedding occurs, the intensity won't be high.

"Unit 1 at Kusile experienced significant delays in relation to the timeline to return to service, which was set for June last year but it returned five months later due to outage slips. We are confident that the work that has been done by the generation team has ensured that we will not have a repeat when we want to return unit 2, which is currently out," the minister said.

South Africa has been dealing with electricity issues for a decade now. Eskom is responsible for providing electricity across the country and uses coal stations to generate 80% of the power.