Cape Town – The Council For Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) says that the government has no clear plan to sort out the current crisis of heavy load shedding in the country.
In early November, the Council announced that it would monitor the hours of power cuts and stages of load shedding and how that is affecting the country.
In November, the CSRI released data in which they emphatically stated just how much worse load shedding had become this year.
It said between January and September, the country had experienced nearly 2000 hours of load shedding – the most since the country first implemented load shedding 15 years ago.
Speaking to eNCA, CSIR senior researcher Monique Le Roux said the whole country was feeling the pressure of load shedding.
She said instead of improving, the situation was getting worse.
“At the end of October, we were looking at about 230% increase in load shedding compared to last October, but at the moment, we are looking at about 260% increase compared to this time last year with a total of 6400GWh (gigawatt hours) of unserved energy for 2022,” she said.
According to Le Roux, the cost of unserved energy costs the country about R87 per kilowatt that is not supplied, and it plays a huge negative impact on the economy because we are looking at about R60 billion that has been lost this year alone due to load shedding.
Outlining the December outlook, she said that around that time, there was a drop in the demand for electricity as a result of most industries that consume electricity having closed for holidays, and there should be lesser load shedding stages implemented.
“We recently looked at the data, and it’s quite interesting to see that the demand really starts dropping in the middle of December and only towards the 22nd – 25th, we see a real drop and demand.
“So around that time of December, we are looking at around a drop of 2000MW that will carry through the beginning of January and hopefully, during that period of time, we will see lesser stages of load shedding,” she said.
She further added that the CSRI was disappointed with the latest five solar projects that were recently launched by the government to address the ongoing power issues in the country.
“Everyone is disappointed because we were looking for about 4800MW of new power generation to be announced, but they only announced an additional 1000MW that will be effective in the next two years,” Le Roux said.
She highlighted that they had seen a lot of investment from the government and calls to get renewable energy onto the grid, but unfortunately, are located in certain provinces where there hasn’t been a demand in electricity supply.