Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter’s load-shedding disaster

Load-shedding under Eskom CEO André de Ruyter has been the worst South Africa has ever seen, new data released by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) showed.

Jarrad Wright, the principal engineer at the CSIR, published a chart showing the level of load-shedding from 2007 to 2021.

The chart showed that 2020 and 2021 were the worst years on record for load-shedding in South Africa at 1,798MWh and 1,914MWh, respectively.

De Ruyter has served as Eskom CEO since January 2020, which means he was in charge during the country’s worst load-shedding periods.

What is particularly concerning is that Eskom promised a significant reduction in load-shedding in both 2020 and 2021.

De Ruyter told the nation in May 2020 that their outlook for the winter season showed little to no load-shedding.

He added that if stage 1 or stage 2 load-shedding were required, these power cuts would probably only be implemented in the evening.

Shortly after De Ruyter’s promise, load-shedding struck and continued for the rest of the year. 2020 turned out to be a disastrous year for blackouts.

Eskom tried to give South Africans hope by telling them the load-shedding resulted from extensive maintenance work.

This extensive maintenance, Eskom said, would create a more reliable generation system and would “significantly reduce” load-shedding from September 2021.

Once again, Eskom did not deliver on its promise.

In October, South Africans experienced two weeks of load-shedding — the worst blackouts ever during an October period.

The main reason for the recent load-shedding is unplanned outages, which shows that Eskom’s generation system remains unreliable.

De Ruyter has admitted that Eskom’s plants have been poorly maintained and unreliable.

“At this stage, our poorly maintained power plants are calling the shots. That is why we had load-shedding,” De Ruyter told The Money Show’s, Bruce Whitfield.

“We could have avoided it, but regrettably, the lack of reliability of our system caught up with us, and we had to implement load-shedding.”

Energy expert Chris Yelland said there are good reasons to be deeply concerned about the state of the power system in South Africa.

“Eskom’s old plants are getting older, the new plants are behaving like old plants, and new generation capacity is not coming on-stream fast enough,” he said.

Energy Thought Leader CEO Mike Rossouw went even further, warning that Eskom is near a total collapse.

“I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, I see a big train coming down the tunnel at us,” Rossouw said. “We’re definitely going to have to get used to being in the dark.”

De Ruyter is widely seen as the best CEO Eskom has had over the last decade and has significantly improved the power utility’s financial situation.

However, his performance when it comes to load-shedding is poor.

MyBroadband asked Eskom for comment about the increased load-shedding under De Ruyter, but the company did not respond.

The table below shows load-shedding under Eskom CEOs from 2007 to 2021, based on Wright’s data.

Load-shedding in South Africa
Year Energy Shed (GWh) Eskom CEO
2007 176 Jacob Maroga
2008 476 Jacob Maroga
2009 0 Jacob Maroga
2010 0 Brian Dames
2011 0 Brian Dames
2012 0 Brian Dames
2013 0 Brian Dames
2014 203 Brian Dames/Collin Matjila
2015 1,325 Tshediso Matona/Brian Molefe
2016 0 Brian Molefe/Matshela Koko
2017 0 Johnny Dladla/Sean Maritz
2018 192 Phakamani Hadebe
2019 1,352 Phakamani Hadebe/Jabu Mabuza
2020 1,798 André de Ruyter
2021 1,914 André de Ruyter

Now read: Eskom on brink of total collapse

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Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter’s load-shedding disaster