[AUDIO] Looming Eskom nightmares

Picture: Supplied.

Picture: Supplied.

I did a news package for Vow FM on the looming Eskom nightmares this past week.

Listen to the full package: ESKOM: Is there light at the end of the tunnel?  

How is it okay that the biggest electricity parastatal in the country is not efficient and is failing the demands of the citizens of the country with regard to electricity supply.

People complained about being without electricity two weeks ago, for more than 24 hours, some places in Pretoria were without power for days on end.

As a result it seemed as life as they knew came to a stop. Businesses closed down or went out of business. Traffic lights were out causing major traffic pile ups on the roads and some people could not even cook their food.

For the first time since 2008 load shedding became a very dark reality in the country.

Last week Thursday Eskom declared a power emergency due to the severe constraint on the power grid as a result of the rainy weather.

Eskom’s spokesperson Andrew Etzinger says this is due to the severe wet weather the country has experienced recently.

Whether is was an issue of wet coal or the matter that Eskom does not buy good quality is yet to be known.

This was the fourth power emergency warning which was issued over the past several months. Etzinger said last week that if the situation remained stable – load shedding will be a last resort. 

Etzinger said last week that the electricity situation in the coming week will depend entirely on the weather. 

The Deputy CEO of Business Unity South Africa Raymond Parsons says Eskom needs to take more responsibility of the problem.

The parastatal says while the grid might stabilise quickly – it will remain vulnerable for at least another two years.

Millions of South Africans were without power for between two and four hours on Thursday.

This resulted in traffics jams, businesses closing and families being unable to cook food. Emily Parsons – a small business owner says buying a generator is too expensive and unrealistic for her. 

At the same time, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry says load-shedding will hurt businesses badly if the problem persists. Raymond Parsons says in turn the economy won’t be benefiting either.

Hospitals and clinics face the biggest problem as load shedding hits the country. The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) spokesperson says hospitals have huge responsibilities towards its patients and need to avoid risky situations which endanger patients’ lives – by having efficient generators on standby.

Energy expert Cornelis Van der Waal says the implementation of Independent Power Producers known as IPP’s are important.

In the meanwhile the DA is calling on the electricity giant to pay back the R31 million bonuses awarded to directors immediately, in order to buy generators for emergency services such as hospitals affected by the power cuts.

On Monday the DA revealed a nine-point plan to address South Africa’s electricity crisis immediately.

It includes investigating why Eskom executives get huge bonuses and asking the National Energy Regulator of South African to launch an independent probe.

The DA erected billboards along Gauteng highways reading – “Load shedding: Proudly brought to you by the ANC.”

The DA’s Wilmot James says Eskom needs to meet South Africa’s electricity demands before the demands of neighbouring countries. 

Whether there is a light at the end of the tunnel for South African’s and Eskom remains to be seen – for now Eskom urges people to exercise sustainability.

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