Energy expert Chris Yelland has said the usual Eskom blackouts are not the only form of load shedding – there is also load curtailment where companies are forced to reduce their power consumption.
Speaking at the 2015 MyBroadband Cloud and Hosting Conference, Yelland said that Eskom often asks large industrial companies to cut their electricity usage by 10% or more.
These companies then have to slow down or even stop some operations, which translates into lower manufacturing output.
These requests are not as widely reported as standard load shedding, but the effect on the South African economy is grave.
Electricity consumption, said Yelland, is a sign of manufacturing output. With Eskom unable to supply enough electricity, manufacturing is declining and economic growth slows.
Eskom’s Generation Medium Term Adequacy Reports shows the decline in peak electricity demand in recent years which Yelland refers to.
What these figures do not show is the effect of load curtailment, which is not included in this graph. The situation is therefore even worse than what the graph suggests.