Eskom is falling apart, with increasing unplanned outages and ageing power plant failures resulting in stage 6 load shedding being implemented this week.
While the latest bout of load-shedding came as a surprise to some people, many experts have been warning about this scenario.
Eskom board member and Business Leadership SA CEO Busisiwe Mavuso told Parliament in October that load-shedding had to be implemented for the next eight months.
However, she said, because of political interference, Eskom was forced to keep the lights on at all costs.
Not implementing load-shedding when needed came at the expense of maintenance and wasting money on open-cycle gas turbines.
“This thing [Eskom] is falling apart – and it falling apart means it’s going to sink the economy down with it,” said Mavuso.
A year of load-shedding needed
James Brent Styan, author of “Blackout – The Eskom Crisis”, agreed with Mavuso that prolonged load-shedding is needed to fix Eskom.
Styan said there is no doubt in his mind that drastic action is necessary to fix Eskom and create a stable grid.
“I think we need permanent load-shedding at stage 2 to stage 4 for six months to a year,” said Styan.
He added that Eskom should spend this time to perform all the maintenance needed on its 140 generating units.