South Africa’s state-owned power utility company, Eskom, has announced an increase in load shedding from stage five to stage six, which will continue until further notice. The decision comes after more of the company’s aging coal-fired power plants, including units at Majuba, Medupi, and Tutuka, broke down.
Electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has warned that load shedding could potentially reach stage-8 rolling blackouts, with no electricity for up to 13 hours a day. Ramokgopa assured the public that the government is taking urgent steps to resolve the situation, including financing to install smart meters to reduce demand and seeking alternative generation capacity with the private sector.
Many have suggested investing more in renewable energy, as South Africa has abundant wind and solar resources. Ramokgopa acknowledged the fragility of the electricity system during colder weather, which typically results in high demand, making it challenging for Eskom to supply enough power.