South African Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown said on Thursday that load shedding will continue for the next 18 months.
The minister once again appealed to South Africans to save electricity at a time of a worsening shortage of electricity supply.
South Africans have been subjected to rolling blackouts since November last year. Load shedding has become almost a daily occurences these days.
Brown said earlier that load shedding would continue for three years.
Eskom, the country’s major power provider, has been under fire for failure to maintain outdated power units that are blamed for load shedding.
Speaking after Eskom’s Annual General Meeting in Cape Town, Brown urged Eskom to continue its turn-around.
She said decisive interventions over the past year at Eskom that culminated in a new Board being appointed, has had the desired effect at the state-owned company.
“I am confident Eskom is turning the corner and I have instructed the Board to fill all senior management positions to ensure this consolidation continues.
“It’s unacceptable that senior and middle-management positions are staying vacant for too long,” the minister said.
She pointed to two other areas of concern — Eskom’s financial sustainability and improvement of reliability of the power plants.
Eskom’s net profit decreased from 7.1 billion rand (about 563 million U.S. dollars) to 3.6 billion rand this financial year, according to the minister.
Management must take decisive steps to stop this decline, Brown said.
Eskom has three stages for load shedding. Stage one allows for up to 1000MW of the national load to be shed once a day. If the pressure grows, stage two for up to 2000MW or stage three for up to 4000MW would be shed. At stage two, power goes off twice a day, while at stage three, electricity could be cut two or three times a day.
The utility says it implements load shedding as a last resort to protect the national system from a total blackout which would have significant impact on the economic development of South Africa. Enditem