'Capping load shedding could lead to a grid meltdown and take us back 20 years'

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and Eskom officials held a press conference on Wednesday detailing the state of the utility's electricity supply and provided two scenarios for Eskom's winter electricity supply plan.

Read: Eskom: Only stage one load shedding likely for winter

Gordhan said he hoped that load shedding would not be implemented this coming winter, however, if it is implemented it will be stage 1 load shedding only.

Energy analyst Ted Blom says the minister has admitted that he is working with inexperienced people at Eskom.

Now he is basing his prognoses and forecast from non-experienced people.

Ted Blom, Energy analyst

The bottom line is that they are running the old feed harder and now they are expecting fewer breakdowns and higher availabilities. If you ride an old car harder, the chances of it breaking down are higher.

Ted Blom, Energy analyst

Blom says there is a lack of imagination from the side of the minister and Eskom.

The out of the box thinking would have been to say that they must open the grid for household solar so that everybody can add 8 gigawatts to the network to make sure that there is no daytime load shedding and that can be available between 30 to 60 days.

Ted Blom, Energy analyst

Secondly, it is to bring in power barges. They can be available for rental, and they can be here within 30 days, and we can create extra capacity to do proper maintenance.

Ted Blom, Energy analyst

He believes that you cannot increase maintenance and increase the availability of electricity at the same time.

What they are suggesting now is very similar to the "2010 keep the lights on". They are going to cut back on maintenance and push the machines harder to avoid load shedding.

Ted Blom, Energy analyst

Load shedding is a grid protection system, says Blom.

And to cap it at 1000 megawatts, the minister has increased the chances of a grid meltdown which will take the country back by 20 years.

Ted Blom, Energy analyst

Listen below to the full interview:


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