‘Let us celebrate’: Eskom marks 50 days without load shedding but warns that darks days are not behind us

Mteto Nyati, chairperson of the Eskom board. Screenshot

Mteto Nyati, chairperson of the Eskom board. Screenshot

Published May 16, 2024


Thursday marked the 50th consecutive day without load shedding being rolled out by South Africa’s struggling power utility Eskom.

Eskom board chairperson Mteto Nyati told broadcaster Newzroom Africa that the power utility is taking it one day at a time.

“First, let’s celebrate the 50 days and secondly we are also looking forward as Eskom to another 50 days of (no) load shedding,” Nyati said in an interview with the broadcaster.

“But we are taking it one day at a time. We have a generation recovery plan that we have been implementing over the last year and we have another year to go where we can comfortably say load shedding is going to be behind us,” he said.

“We still have another year of working hard, making sure we are safely out of this challenge.”

The elongated suspension of load shedding has been widely welcomed by citizens and businesses across South Africa.

However, Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has often faced a barrage of questions from sections of society who believe the suspension of load shedding is linked to the upcoming May 29 general elections.

Earlier this week, IOL reported that Ramokgopa stated that Eskom’s Energy Availability Factor (EAF) has breached the 70%, while just over R53.4 million was spent on burning diesel to power the Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGT) last week.

Eskom has consistently defended it’s use of OCTG’s, saying it was only being used during morning and evening peaks to meet high electricity demand when it is necessary.

Mteto Nyati, chairperson of the Eskom board. Picture: Screenshot

On Thursday, Nyati said South Africa is not out of the woods yet when it comes to power supply.

“We had a fleet that was highly unreliable. In order for us to say we are safely out of the woods we need to make sure that we touch all of those units and do the proper maintenance,” Nyati told the television news channel.

“Right now we have done a sufficient number and that is giving us the reliability that we see now.”

On Monday, the power utility said South Africa is currently in a load shedding free environment, not because they are burning diesel to keep the lights on, but because of their extensive maintenance programme and success of their Generation Operational Recovery Plan, which was initiated in March last year.

Minister of Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa. File Picture: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS

According to Ramokgopa, who spoke during a media briefing on Monday, the EAF has breached the 70% mark and is currently tracking at 70.78%. This is the first time the EAF has breached 70% since August 2021.

For the month-to-date, the EAF is at 64,34% and year-to-date (YTD) the EAF has reached 59,92%.