16 May 2022
We can all understand “loss of generating capacity’. Units go out of service, the grid gets overloaded, etc. etc.
But why would “loss of generating capacity” kick in only between 17h00-22h00 every day and be perfectly functioning for the other 19 hours? Especially as by 17h00, most businesses are shutting shop for the day, turning off their heaters / air conditioners / heavy machinery?
Here’s my take:
- There is no “loss of generating capacity”. Keeping the lights on during the day is f*cking expensive because the cost per kW/h of generating electricity from diesel is more than Eskom charges to customers. But Eskom has to burn diesel to keep the wheels of industry ticking over during the day.
- In the evening, the rules change. People head home, turn on their stoves and TVs and heaters and sex toys. But there are two problems for Eskom: firstly, selling electricity at a loss to you and me doesn’t help economic growth, secondly, that there are a sh!tload of non-paying customers connected to the grid at this time. (Two broad categories of non-paying customers: illegal connections and non-paying municipalities — the second category protected by our wise and all-knowing judiciary who say Eskom cannot cut them off.)
- By 22h00, most people are in bed, and the demand drops.
We cannot fix this mess because:
- the ANC will not disconnect illegal connections in the townships
- nor will they force their defaulting municipalities to pay
- nor will they allow Eskom to increase the price of electricity commensurate with the cost of diesel
Let’s hope we get more inexpensive diesel from Russia soon.