Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has thrown cold water on calls to put Eskom into a state of disaster.
This week, prosecutors in Parliament demanded the declaration of a state of emergency at the utility, which said it would allow provinces and municipalities that have resources and capacity to generate electricity faster and more efficiently from private actors.
In response, Gordhan said the government had not considered declaring a state of disaster in response to the challenges Eskom is facing.
< span>The declaration was not required as load shedding was a means to protect the system from a complete collapse.
“There should be a distinction between a catastrophic state for “dramatic impact” versus a network emergency falling within the responsibility of the network operator. The number one imperative at all times is to avoid the total grid collapse that has occurred in California and recently in Texas, USA,” said Gordhan.
There is internal plans to manage the power grid, allowing Eskom to implement load shedding up to level 8 to protect the grid from a full collapse.
“Eskom manages the stability of the network with last shedding as the key mechanism to mitigate collapse. Eskom or the government is under no obligation to declare such an emergency,” said Gordhan.
What is level 8 load shedding?< /p>
Level 8 load shedding, which has not yet been implemented, would mean outages of up to 13 hours or six times a day depending on the daily routine.
This stage would take 8,000 MW offline. Level 8 doubles the frequency of level 4.
How long does load shedding last in winter?
Eskom’s transmission leader Segomoco Scheppers said last month that the utility expects between 37 and 101 days of load shedding in the winter.
However, this depends on how much generation capacity Eskom has during of the period lost.
Eskom must contain unplanned outages below 12,500 MW to avoid load shedding. If unplanned winter outages exceed 12,500 MW, Eskom’s “worst case” scenario of load shedding will likely become a reality.