You might have seen several reports over the weekend claiming that load shedding is about to become a permanent fixture in South Africa. As in, it’ll be permanently scheduled rather than going away occasionally. The state power utility has since given a statement that this is in fact, incorrect.
You might think that a lack of permanently-scheduled load shedding would be a good thing but the reasons why it isn’t being implemented don’t bode too well.
Building better load shedding
Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha explained, “Eskom has considered implementing permanent Stage 2 and 3 load shedding to give more predictability to the public. As Andrè de Ruyter stated during the session, this is not possible as it would not guarantee that load shedding would remain at the lower levels.”
The original statement by Eskom chairperson Mpho Makwana suggested that the utility could “create some predictability by implementing a permanent Stage 2 or 3 for the next two years in order to give sufficient space for maintenance”. While unpleasant, it’s true that predictable outages would be easier for the average person to manage.
In dousing the reports suggesting blackouts would become, at the very least, predictable, suggests that Eskom’s got absolutely no idea what will happen to the grid in the weeks and months to come. It’s one thing to promise that Stage 3 would be the norm for 24 months. But deviating from a promise like that, for any reason, is sure to raise the ire of the average South African way beyond where it sits now.