While briefing the media on the current and projected state of the national grid, Eskom said that there was an 80% chance that consumers would only face 3 days of load shedding this winter. This is a dramatic decrease from the over thirty days predicted earlier in the year, with the coronavirus pandemic being one of the factors contributing to the improvement. The national lockdown provided Eskom with a bitter-sweet outcome. While some of its operations had to be halted due to the crisis, the state-owned company also had the opportunity to deal with much of its short-term maintenance.
This was only possible because of the reduced power demand as some of the major electricity consumers closed down for the lockdown period. Eskom also said it will enable its generation fleet to be prepared when demand peaks once lockdown restrictions are lifted. Eskom did however admit that it is still lagging with reliability maintenance which had been neglected for a decade, leading to the continuous breakdowns.
Jan Oberholzer, Eskom’s chief operating officer said, “The system remains unpredictable and unreliable so we still have trips and breakdowns, and although we have predicted three days of load shedding – I need to say that the risk of load shedding remains.”