The margin between peak electricity demand and available generation capacity was 27.1% on January 4. Eskom’s available generation capacity was 33,326MW, while dispatchable power from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) was 1,014 MW, but peak demand was only 27,018MW. That gives a spare capacity of 7,322MW or 27.1% above the peak demand. SA first encountered national load shedding in January 2008 when low coal stocks, heavy rainfall and normal summer maintenance produced a perfect storm. Starting in October 2007, the northern parts of SA, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe experienced exceptional (in many cases record) rainfall. The consequence of this was that by January 2008 the ground was saturated and severe flooding took place. This in turn disrupted coal mining operations, as many mines are open cast, while turning normally good driving roads into quagmires. The bad driving conditions resulted in many small Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) transport companies, which had recently be...

Subscribe now to unlock this article.

Support BusinessLIVE’s award-winning journalism for R129 per month (digital access only).

There’s never been a more important time to support independent journalism in SA. Our subscription packages now offer an ad-free experience for readers.

Cancel anytime.

Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.