Eskom is lying, they’ve already implemented stage 5, says energy expert

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan addresses the media at Eskom's head office in Megawatt Park, Sunninghill, December 2018. Picture: Bhekikaya Mabaso / African News Agency (ANA)

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan addresses the media at Eskom's head office in Megawatt Park, Sunninghill, December 2018. Picture: Bhekikaya Mabaso / African News Agency (ANA)

Ted Blom accuses the struggling utility of having ‘lost control of the system’.

Energy expert Ted Blom told eNCA that Eskom was “lying” in its assertion that South Africa has not yet experienced stage 5 load shedding as well as being untruthful in their denial of reports that they are currently planning to implement this stage.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan answered a question at Eskom’s press conference on Tuesday that led media to report that the utility was planning to implement stage 5 and stage 6 load shedding, but the utility has since put out a statement denying that these stages are on their way and saying that Gordhan was misinterpreted.

Some South Africans appeared to have only learned that these two stages even exist after Gordhan’s answer. Eskom quietly changed the number of stages from four to eight in November last year.

Blom told eNCA that Eskom has already implemented stage 5 and they are “lying” by claiming otherwise.

“Eskom is lying to us, they said yesterday (Tuesday) at their press briefing with their minister in the room that on Monday they dropped 4,900 megawatts now if you follow the definitions… that’s stage 5. That’s why everybody is complaining… they have lost control of the system… they are lying”, said Blom.

READ MORE: Calm down, we’re not heading into Stage 5 or 6, Eskom says

Despite Blom’s assertion that Eskom is lying, if Eskom dropped 4,900 megawatts on Monday this would not have meant it had entered Stage 5, only that it came close. Stage five would be 5,000 megawatts and above.

In an apparent correction following yesterday’s press conference, the utility put out a statement in an attempt to reassure South Africa that load shedding was not about to get worse, saying it was probable that it would, in fact, become less severe in coming days.

The utility said in a statement on Tuesday evening that Gordhan had merely been answering a question about what could happen beyond stage 4 load shedding, and his response was then reported as evidence that worse stages are being planned for and could in fact even be upon us.

However, Eskom said this wasn’t the case, and Gordhan’s explanation was merely meant to indicate that the utility would be able to keep the grid alive even if its generating capacity got worse (which they claim may not happen).

Andrew Etzinger, senior manager at Eskom, told EWN that he expected the rolling blackouts to actually be scaled back in coming days.

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)

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