Deputy President David Mabuza has apologised to South Africans for the “inconvenience” caused by the ongoing load shedding.
Mabuza made the apology during his question-and-answer session in Parliament on Thursday.
He said, “When it comes to the current load shedding, I think we must, on behalf of government, apologise to all businesses, students who could not write exams, for the inconvenience caused.”
The Deputy President assured the public that government is addressing Eskom’s challenges and that “we will come back to normality.”
‘Old power stations’
Eskom began implementing stage 2 load shedding on Wednesday. Its chief operating officer, Jan Oberholzer, told talk radio 702 that the situation could last at least a week.
In Parliament, Mabuza attributed the power utility’s problems to old power stations which have reduced capacity from 47 to 35 megawatts.
He said the new Integrated Resource Plan the government is introducing will inform South Africa’s energy mix.
Government should also allow more independent power producers to operate as a way of easing current capacity shortages, he added.
On Wednesday, Eskom said unplanned generating unit breakdowns caused by boiler tube leaks are to blame for load shedding.
These breakdowns were made worse by “delays in the return to service of units that are on planned maintenance and limited diesel supply.”
It explained, “In addition, a conveyor belt supplying Medupi Power Station with coal failed on Saturday, 12 October resulting in low volumes of coal being supplied to the power station thus limiting the generating capability to approximately half the station output.”
The power utility “unreservedly” apologised to South Africans, but assured them that “we continue to work tirelessly to ensure security of energy supply.”
It urged the public to use electricity sparingly through measures such as setting air conditioners at an average temperature of 23ºC and switching off geysers at peak periods.