Load shedding imminent for South Africa

Eskom must review what it calls ‘contractual obligations’ to export electricity. With load-shedding apparently imminent, Eskom must put South Africa first to ensure security of local supply before exporting to our northern neighbours.

Eskom is exporting much needed power to neighbouring countries.

The necessity of this is reinforced by what Eskom CEO Brian Dames said in a Sunday Times interview yesterday: “At any point in time we would like to have 2,000 MW available” – and yet this is the precise quantity of electricity we currently export north of our borders.

The fact is that if South Africa was to end its export contracts, we would be out of danger. And we wouldn’t have to rely on the 1,500 MW we currently import from Cahora Bassa in Mozambique. Eskom would be able to maintain a healthy reserve margin and periodic “load-shedding” would happen less frequently.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is fully in favour of exporting electricity, but only after ensuring local security of supply.

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Eskom periodically relies on taxpayer bailouts, and therefore has no right to hide behind the excuse: ‘We have a contractual agreement to export’. The DA, through parliamentary questions, has asked to see the terms and conditions, especially the pricing, in these export contracts. But Eskom has repeatedly refused to supply the information, citing ‘commercial sensitivity’.

For this reason, the DA will be launching a application with the Department of Energy to gain access to this critical information. It simply cannot be that South Africans go without electricity while continuing to export it in great quantities.

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