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.