Load shedding will be a risk for the next five years

Eskom has stated that load shedding would remain a real risk for the next five years, according to a report by the City Press.

The power utility is still struggling to recover from the effects of a worker strike and the risk of load shedding remains high, the report stated.

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said Eskom burned R102-million worth of diesel fuel following the strike in order to avoid a total blackout.

Half of Eskom’s emergency diesel-powered plants were activated to avoid the crisis, and again more recently to balance the power demand and supply.

Phasiwe told the City Press that 18 people had been arrested during the strike, and that Eskom’s power systems would remain constrained until 27 June.

“The system is going to be constrained as our machines recover from the strike,” he said. “We aren’t out of the woods.”

Phasiwe added that the risk of load shedding would remain until the power utility’s two new coal power stations were completed five years from now.

Union negotiations

Eskom resolved the strike action at its power plants by agreeing to hold negotiations with labor unions regarding pay increases.

The protests centered around Eskom’s proposed wage increase of 0% for workers, and caused major disruptions to Eskom’s power supply, leading to the sudden implementation of load shedding last week.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has urged Eskom to normalise relationships and operations, stating that the power utility’s proposed wage increase of 0% was off the table.

This past week, Eskom offered major unions a wage increase of 4.7% for 2018, along with an inflation-based increased from 2019 to 2021.

These unions presented a counteroffer to Eskom, which the utility will be able to respond to when negotiations resume on 27 June.

Other factors which Eskom said affected its ability to deliver power include the cold weather and subsequent increased power usage.

Now read: Forget load shedding – This South African family has lived off the Eskom grid for 10 years

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Load shedding will be a risk for the next five years