Despite recent reductions in loadshedding stages, fears persist regarding the potential collapse of South Africa’s electricity grid.
This has led to growing concerns about whether the Newcastle Municipality has a contingency plan in place to address such a scenario.
In May 2023, Eskom‘s Acting CEO, Calib Cassim, alarmed the public by warning that if interventions to reduce power demands and improve reliability fail during the winter season, loadshedding could escalate to Stage 8, as previously reported by Newcastillian News.
In response to mounting concerns, Eskom denied claims of an imminent grid collapse, assuring the public that measures have been implemented to prevent such an occurrence.
However, showing their lack of confidence in Eskom’s ability to keep the lights on, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) initiated a contingency plan as a precautionary measure recently.
Governor Lesetja Kganyago revealed during the SARB’s Financial Stability Review that the central bank, through the Financial Sector Contingency Forum (FSCF), is actively preparing for the unlikely event of a national grid failure to safeguard the financial sector.
Due to these continued concerns, the Newcastle Municipality was questioned about its preparedness for a potential grid collapse.
When questioned by Newcastillian News, the Municipality’s Communications Unit emphasised that ongoing communication with Eskom’s official electricity supplier is maintained within the Electrical Department.
The Communications Unit stated, “All relevant information relating to the supply of Electricity within the Licensed Area of the Newcastle Municipality is adequately handled. This has proven to be effective even in the handling of the load shedding schedules as stipulated from time to time.”
Despite concerns, the Municipality’s department has not received official notification of any imminent electricity blackout from the supplier. The Communications Unit clarified,
“This information can, therefore, only be construed as speculations since it has not been substantiated by the Supplier. The Department, therefore, does not have any Contingency Plan at present.”
Understandably, the Newcastle Municipality’s Communications Unit also explained that establishing an alternative electricity supply system to meet the significant power demand in the licensed area of Newcastle would require extensive feasibility studies and substantial financial commitment.
With Eskom hanging an axe over South Africa’s future, it is understandable that municipalities across the country would not have the means nor the timeframe to implement what can only be called a “mega electrical project” to compensate for a grid collapse.
The reality of the situation is that Eskom has the country by the “short and curlies” and the fact that winter is now upon us will truly reveal if the state owned company can keep the lights on or will the chickens come home to roost for the mismanaged company.
To say that years of corruption and mismanagement have caught up with the 100 year old Eskom would be a clear understatement, as the future of a country once again hangs in the balance due to reasons out of the average person’s hands.
While we wait to see the outcome be sure to share your thoughts and views in the comment section below.