The next months are not looking positive for energy provision, with the outlook by Eskom indicating a sustained period of loadshedding in 2021.

This is the word from Ted Blom, senior mining, energy and legal strategist and tactician, who explains that Eskom’s own forecast for the next three months indicate that as much as 20 000 MW will be unavailable as a result of both planned and unplanned outages.

“As soon as we go above 11 000 MW, we have loadshedding,” Blom points out.

“With planned and unplanned outages consistently planned to be above 20 000, that leaves a 9 000 MW shortage, which is actually level 9 loadshedding.”

While this level of loadshedding is unlikely, Blom says he is comfortable in making the following prediction: “Between now and the end of winter, we will see level 6 loadshedding for certain, and level 8 or above is a possibility.”

He stresses that these predictions are based on Eskom’s own forecasts and analyses.

He believes that the current issues are a result of years of poor management and corruption. Eskom’s initial plan was to shut down old power stations and replace the capacity with the new plants, notable Medupi and Kusile.

The fact that the cost of these power stations has mushroomed, and they are not yet operational, has placed pressure on a system that has already started cannabilising the older power stations.

Indeed, Blom points out that Medupi is operating at only a small percentage of its potential, and Kusile is still not online. Meanwhile, Ingula was tendered out at R9-billion, but came in with a final cost of about R40-billion.