All municipalities in South Africa except Ethekwini and Buffalo City failed to comply with Eskom’s instructions to implement a sufficient amount of load-shedding over the weekend.
Eskom CEO André de Ruyter made this revelation during a online briefing by the power utility regarding the state of its generating system on Tuesday afternoon.
Eskom can only implement rotating power cuts on its own direct customers. Where it supplies electricity to municipalities that distribute it to their residents, it requires the municipalities to cut power to areas as needed.
De Ruyter said the sudden upgrade to stage 4 load-shedding on Monday morning was necessitated by certain municipalities not implementing load-shedding as instructed by Eskom.
On Sunday, Eskom announced stage 2 load-shedding would be required for the entire week until Saturday.
However, it announced a move to stage 4 at short notice on Monday.
De Ruyter has now claimed this was because Eskom had noticed it was not getting a sufficient reduction in demand from multiple municipalities.
“A recent new challenge that has reared its head, which is quite unfortunate, is that some municipalities have not played their role in implementing load-shedding,” De Ruyter said.
“During stage 2 load-shedding [over the weekend], we saw a number of municipalities either not abiding by their obligations to implement load-shedding or implementing it only on a fractional basis of what their commitment should be.”
“This has put us in a position where instead of the roughly 2,000MW we expect [to shed] from stage 2 load-shedding that we had to deepen our load-shedding to stage 4,” he stated.
De Ruyter stated that municipalities’ compliance levels increased after Eskom implemented stage 4 load-shedding.
He appealed to municipalities to assist Eskom in protecting the stability of the system.
“If we don’t get the co-operation of our customers, we will have to turn to a deeper stage of load-shedding, not because of our inability to plan, but the municipalities not abiding by our requests to implement load-shedding,” De Ruyter said.
Eskom group executive for distribution Monde Bala said the list of guilty municipalities was long.
“Of the municipalities that we supply, only Ethekwini and Buffalo City have adhered strictly to their load-shedding requirements,” Bala said.
Bala explained that Eskom handles load-shedding for many of its municipal customers. He said that there are 28 municipalities that control their own load-shedding schedules.
These include South Africa’s eight major metropolitan municipalities — Tshwane, Joburg, Mangaung, Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay, Ekurhuleni, eThekwini, and Buffalo City.
Bala added that certain key industrial customers had also failed to comply with the load-shedding requirements.
He added that Eskom had written letters to the guilty parties to restore compliance.
“We are engaging with these municipalities and customers with the view of correcting the situation for all future load-shedding scenarios.”
Eskom seemed to dodge questions to clarify these allegations and instead told the media to direct their queries to the relevant municipalities.
It also didn’t answer questions about non-compliant municipalities, declining to explain who complied when Eskom confronted them or when Stage 4 load-shedding was announced.