Load-shedding returned to South Africa in October, shortly after Eskom approached the court with a request to increase electricity prices by 16% over the next two years.
Since load-shedding and Eskom price increase applications have coincided in the past, the return of load-shedding sparked theories that Eskom was using the controlled blackouts as a negotiation tool.
This is not far-fetched. A report by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) previously found that the country’s first load-shedding may have been engineered by Eskom employees.
According to the City Press, this “self-created emergency” was introduced so that Eskom would sign contracts to benefit coal suppliers.
The distrust in Eskom and the suspicion that there may be something more to load-shedding than meets the eye is therefore justified.
Chris Yelland comments
While the theories related to load-shedding may be justified based on previous investigations, energy expert Chris Yelland said they are highly unlikely to be true.
Speaking to CNBC Africa, Yelland said he is aware of the theories that there is a link between load-shedding and Eskom price increase applications.
Yelland said that while it is disconcerting that load-shedding and price increase applications coincide, he doubted there was a link between the two.
“It would be a criminal action by Eskom’s management, directors, and employees if they conspire to shut down power,” he said.
“It is illegal and criminal, and I am hesitant to believe that anything like that is possible,” said Yelland.