Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has denied claims that parts of the country, notably Johannesburg, have experienced Stage 8 load shedding.
Residents have reported up to 12 hours of blackouts during a 24-hour cycle despite Eskom saying the country was only on Stage 6.
Energy expert Chris Yelland said South Africans had every right to doubt the reliability of the information being shared by the state about the power shortage.
Meanwhile, the minister said Joburg residents experienced extended hours of load shedding because City Power had taken over the implementation of the load shedding schedule from Eskom.
“In relation to the people of Johannesburg, the first is to say that we were never at Stage 8. The experiences of people in various localities, that I cannot deny. But remember that in the instance of Johannesburg, Eskom has handed over responsibility to City Power.
“And I’m sure it’s a conversation that we will have with City Power,” said Ramokgopa.
Ramokgopa once again promised the nation a December free of load shedding, adding that they expected Kusile Power Station units 2 and 5 to return to work soon.
“What we also know about December is that your energy intensive users, your major industries, are closing, so the demand is going to dip. You will have days where there is no load shedding,” he said.
During his weekly update on the state of the grid, the minister said even though system failures unexpectedly plunged the nation into Stage 6 blackouts, the grid was never near a system collapse.
“When you ramp up the levels of load shedding it does not mean you are close to a system collapse. All it means is that the system operator is alert and that he is doing everything to protect the grid.”
As it ended Stage 6 load shedding on Sunday, Eskom said its blackouts schedule will alternate between Stage 3 in the morning and Stage 4 in the evening from Monday to Thursday this week.
As the unreliable nature of Eskom’s ageing coal fleet continues, the International Partners Group has increased its funding for South Africa’s just energy transition from $8.5 billion (R160.4 billion) to $9.3 billion (R175.2 billion).