South Africa has endured electricity shortages for the past 15 years

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa lauded Eskom for ensuring there is no load shedding over the last 54 days across South Africa.

Speaking during a media briefing at Megawatt Park on Monday, the minister shared the latest updates on Energy Action Plan implementation, the initiative that was unveiled by President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2022.

Ramokgopa noted that the country is witnessing an exceptionally improved energy situation and credited Eskom for making efforts on its part. Furthermore, he also praised all government officials responsible for the same.

However, he said that the country is not completely free from the load-shedding issue.

"We are not yet out of the woods but we can see the trend line. We know that we are going to have momentary setbacks. It is the nature of this, but we must be fixed on...returning units on time. And where there are periods of failure, you mustn't be despondent," he said, SA News reported.

Responding to reports that Eskom is burning diesel at a high rate to keep the lights on, the minister said "The [Open Cycle Gas Turbines] are part of the fleet. They are designed...that during the afternoon peak, when you have elevated demand, if you are struggling to meet that demand then you engage the OCGTs."

Previously, Eskom's power generators were used about 17% of the time on average but now they're used just under 6% of the time, highlighting a huge decrease. From April 1 to May 16, 2024, Eskom spent R1.24 billion in engaging the OCGTs, a 78% drop from R5.2 billion on diesel in the same period last year.

Ramokgopa explained that solar energy is still part of the plan to deal with the load-shedding problem, stressing that Eskom's performance is not related to the ongoing renewable energy projects.

"If you go to the Energy Action Plan and you look at Outcome 4, it says...we have to introduce incentives to make it possible for us to aggressively roll out rooftop solar solutions by both industry and households. We have been able to double the amount of rooftop solar solution megawatts that can be drawn from that intervention from about 2100MW to 4400MW," the minister said.

The minister thanked Eskom and encouraged its employees to keep working hard.