Minister Brown: we are not close to a blackout


At a press briefing held on 15 April, 2015, Public Enterprises minister, Lynne Brown, has assured South Africans that despite the implementation of stage three of load shedding, the country is not close to a power blackout.

asidi1Public Enterprises minister, Lynne Brown, says load shedding is expected to continue through winter, a time when there is usually more pressure placed on the national grid. (Image: Brand South Africa)

Brown largeMinister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown

On Monday, Eskom implemented stage 2 load shedding and load curtailment from 16h00 until 22h00, due to a shortage of generation capacity brought on by the fact that several units were out of service due to planned and unplanned outages.

Yesterday , Eskom at first implemented stage 2 load shedding, but at around 18h00 moved from stage 2 to stage 3 load shedding due to further shortage of generation capacity as additional units have had to be taken out of service for unplanned maintenance caused by technical faults.

At around 21h00 last night, load shedding changed back from stage 3 to stage 2 and stage 2 load shedding was stopped at 22h00 .

Load shedding at stage 3 shows the seriousness of the constraints that we face but it is in no way an indication that we are close to a black-out.

Today, for the entire day, from 06h00 until 22h00, stage 2 load shedding will be in place.

The acting chairperson of the Eskom Board, Dr Ben Ngubane, has provided me with a detailed report on what happened during the last week.

The loss of a number of generating units early in the week reduced the available capacity to meet the demand on Monday.

It is expected that the situation would continue throughout winter when consumption is higher as the constraints on the grid means that planned, controlled, and rotational load shedding and load curtailment, are introduced to protect the power system.

I have also asked Dr. Ngubane to ensure that Eskom improves communication with stakeholders and consumers and to ensure alignment of load shedding schedules.

Government wants to ensure improvement in the communication and compliance to load shedding schedules and therefore have collaborated with Naspers, Primedia and eNews Channel Africa. This is for South Africans to access the latest information on load shedding schedules for their area by clicking onto the website of these three partners.

Government extends its appreciation to the media houses for coming on board. The quick and accurate dissemination of information has a direct impact on the daily lives of South Africans.

We understand the consequences of load shedding on business activity, employment and productivity and wish to assure the public, consumers and all players in our economy that we are working tirelessly to ensure that we have adequate electricity supply.

The role of the War Room is in essence is to play a coordinating role and to ensure integration to address the challenges we are facing with electricity.

We are committed to ensure a reliable power supply and our response to this resulted in the following successes:

  • The Medupi Power Station in Limpopo recently reached a key milestone by delivering power to the grid for the first time on 2 March 2015 from its Unit 6 generator. Once on stream, Unit 6 will bring much needed extra 800 MW capacity to the grid;
  • Restoring the Majuba Power Station is underway and 1200MW has been recovered as part of an interim solution. The Majuba Power Station provides full power at the morning and evening peaks and an average of 85% power during the day.
  • Eskom’s maintenance strategy and its execution is receiving focused attention from the War Room to ensure that it delivers the improvements required in plant availability and plant performance. Eskom has deployed 30 experienced senior managers from head office to power stations to ensure that maintenance is done correctly.
  • The procurement process is underway to replace the boiler at the Duvha Power Station which failed last year and a supplier will be appointed by the first quarter of the new financial year.
  • A R4 billion loan was recently secured to scale up Eskom’s renewable energy generation capacity. Eskom will build the Kiwano solar thermal power station in the Northern Cape and the lngula Pumped Storage Scheme in KwaZulu-Natal which will add 1OOMW and 1332MW respectively to the national grid.
  • The completion of the Sere Wind Farm, in Vredendal in the Western Cape, and KaXu Solar One Power Plant, in Pofadder in the Northern  Cape, have together added 200 MW to the national grid.
  • The co-generation contracts were successfully renewed at the end of March ensuring 800MW to the grid.


This year, Eskom has been following its preventative maintenance schedules to the aging plants so that the recovery to sustainable and reliable power generation is expedited.

This will understandably place strain on the system over the short term as changes to demand or additional plant failures, as experienced over the past few days that took us into Stage 2 and Stage 3 load shedding, might occur.

I wish to, on behalf of government, apologise for the inconvenience anyone has suffered due to load shedding and would also like to thank all citizens and consumers for their patience and understanding but also for assisting us in the many creative ways to lift pressure off the grid.

I once again appeal to all citizens to help us reduce demand by making electricity reductions in households and businesses part of their lifestyles.

We need to work together to ensure that we have a reliable power supply.

Government remains committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure this and calls on all citizens to join our national effort to safe electricity.

For media enquiries contact Minister Brown’s spokesman, Lionel Adendorf, on +27 61 4941105 and