Eskom tarrif hike

State power firm Eskom started 2024 on a tepid note by announcing on Monday a new load-shedding schedule to offset loss of generating units and an expected increase in power demand. The new load-shedding schedule will be effective after New Year's Day.

The energy firm said South Africans will be experiencing Stage 2 of load shedding from 5:00 a.m. until 16:00 p.m. Thereafter, Eskom will implement Stage 3 of load shedding until 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday.

"With the current intensified maintenance aimed at improving the fleet performance, we had a setback of three generating units (2,148MW) not coming back online as anticipated," Eskom mentioned in the statement.

"This coupled with a loss of six generating units (3,113MW), and projected increase in electricity demand requires" Stage 2 and Stage 3 of load shedding, noting that this pattern will be repeated daily until further notice," it added.

The company noted that unplanned outages currently stand at 16,231MW of generating capacity, with 8,451MW out of service for planned maintenance.

Eskom, which was diligently striving to restore 4,921MW of generating capacity before the end of the week, ensured South Africans that it would closely monitor the situation and announce any potential change in the schedule.

Meanwhile, Eskom went on to thank everyone who used the electricity sparingly and efficiently by switching off geysers and pool pumps between 17:00 and 21:00. These activities lower demand and help in alleviating the pressure on the power system, which helps to reduce the load shedding stages.

The new schedule came after the state power firm on Sunday announced that Kusile power station's Unit 5 was synchronized to the national grid for the first time to boost the nation's energy capacity by an additional 800 megawatts.

Calib Cassim, Eskom's Acting Group Chief Executive, anticipates this unit to boost the country's economy. Cassim, former Eskom chief financial officer, took over former CEO Andre de Ruyter's position temporarily until a new CEO was appointed.

In December, electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa urged Eskom to be consistent and warned that the "true test" of the struggling utility firm will happen when the big industries come back from the holidays.

Eskom announced Dan Marokane's name as the new CEO of the energy company last month, revealing that he will join no later than March 31. Marokane, who was currently serving as the CEO of the cane sugar refining company, Tongaat Hulett, had previously worked as Eskom's head of group capital.