Government continues load shedding exclusion drive

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Government’s efforts to avoid load shedding at essential service facilities continues with some 76 hospitals already excluded from the rolling power cuts, while work for 46 others is ongoing, says Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

This as the North Gauteng High Court ordered that hospitals, schools and police stations be exempted from load shedding. The court also gave the Public Enterprises Minister 60 days to ensure that those public facilities have sufficient electricity supply.

According to Gordhan, the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) had already initiated efforts with the Health Department and Eskom to identify 213 facilities that need continuous electricity supply.

“The DPE initiated the work to segregate these hospitals, working with the Department of Health. As government, we are continuously working to determine what other facilities can be isolated from the integrated grid. In certain instances it is not possible,” he said.

Turning to load shedding itself, Gordhan said government has increased efforts to increase Eskom’s generation capacity and bring down load shedding.

The power utility continues to battle breakdowns and delays in returning generating units to service at power stations resulting in increased stages of load shedding.

“It is regrettable that as a country we do not have an adequate supply of electricity. This is the reason we have load shedding, and our efforts are targeted at ensuring that our generation capacity is urgently increased.

“The load shedding that is affecting families, schools, health care and business facilities is regrettable. This is not wilful, and it is not in the absence of continued and determined efforts to mitigate the negative impacts of load shedding,” Gordhan said.

The department said Gordhan has cautioned against political point scoring related to load shedding.

“Minister Gordhan said it was disheartening that some political elements were so devoid of any empathy and were seeking to use the suffering caused by load shedding to score cheap political points. Most notable in this regard were the attempts by Build One South Africa (BOSA) Leader Mmusi Maimane to capitalize on the suffering of citizens for political mileage.

“Minister Gordhan said the DPE’s decision to appeal the recent ruling by the North Gauteng High Court on load shedding was about ensuring that current and ongoing efforts to stabilize the national grid were not compromised due to the ongoing need to balance supply and demand for electricity.

“The Government has expressed regret at the hardship that load shedding has imposed upon the citizens and has vowed to press ahead with coordinated efforts to urgently increase the country’s electricity generation capacity to mitigate the impact and the severity of load shedding,” the department said. –