Stage 6 loadshedding – Is the unavailability of diesel to power OCGTs to blame?

Issued by Dr Mimmy Gondwe MP – DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises
29 Nov 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Dr Mimmy Gondwe MP

With Eskom busy prioritising the design of a new logo and the development of a new corporate identity instead of permanently ending load shedding, the past few days has seen the country plunged back into heightened levels of load shedding, namely stage 6 load shedding. In a briefly worded statement, issued last Friday Eskom attributed these heightened levels of load shedding to insufficient generation capacity and emergency reserves.

The heightened levels of loadshedding that the country has been experiencing also coincide or correspond with the decline in the use of Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGTs). As case in point, the use of OCGTs declined by 50%, from 14 OCGTs on 22 November to 7 OCGTs on 25 November. It is therefore imperative for Eskom to provide some much needed clarity on whether it has run out of diesel or the funds to procure diesel to power OCGTs.

If indeed Eskom has run out of diesel or the funds to procure diesel, it means South Africans run the risk of spending their Christmas and possibly their new year in the dark and in midst of stage 6 loadshedding or beyond. It is for this reason that Eskom needs to immediately reassure the country that its diesel reserves and budget have not run out or been depleted.

Although OCGTs are not a permanent power source and not meant to run like regular power stations, they do serve as an effective stop gap measure during the peak periods of load shedding. However due to the poor performance of Eskom’s aged coal fired power stations which are perpetually out of service, OCGTs have to be run non-stop by burning diesel. As such, Eskom has become increasingly reliant on OCGTs to ameliorate its insufficient generation capacity.

The DA therefore calls on Minister Pravin Gordhan and Eskom to reassure South Africans and urgently provide a status update on whether Eskom’s diesel reserves and budget remain intact and have not run out or been depleted as South Africans need to celebrate the festive season in the absence of this heightened and incessant load shedding that we are now currently being subjected to.

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