Load shedding is not a diversion, says Eskom

Eskom says it is confident that it can address its current power generation challenges and that its need to load shed is not a diversion.

"The story in the media and on social platforms regarding allegations that load shedding is a diversion, is itself a diversion and far from the truth," Eskom states in a statement issued late on Tuesday afternoon.

"If one takes all power stations into account there is an operational surplus and sufficient megawatts to meet demand. However, due to the magnitude of units on technical breakdowns, the number of megawatts to meet demand has reduced."

Eskom emphasised that load shedding happens as a result of a shortage of capacity due to a number of factors. These include generating units being out of service due to breakdowns. Eskom said load shedding is implemented as a last resort to protect the power system from a total collapse or blackout.

Eskom said it had experienced deterioration in plant performance over the past six months resulting in shortage of capacity to meet the demand in electricity, forcing it to implement load shedding.

"While we are currently implementing a short-term to medium term recovery plan, Eskom's challenges can only be resolved in a partnership with government, key stakeholders, and all electricity customers," it said.

"We are confident that we have the capacity to address these power generation challenges." 

Eskom pointed out that South Africans can also assist by using electricity sparingly and reducing demand throughout the day by switching off non-essential appliances and lighting.