Extract

“Rotational load-shedding”? Sheesh. Eskom can’t even generate a good euphemism. What’s wrong with “Scheduled Cosiness-sharing” or “Non-optional mood-lighting”? No man. Rotational load-shedding is what airliners do when they spiral into the ground.

Fortunately, there’s slightly less vagueness around what’s causing the ANC’s latest attempt to cripple the economy: Eskom and experts agree that the problem isn’t coal. We’ve got heaps of the stuff; so much, in fact, that come Christmas the government could put a lump of it in the stocking of every naughty girl or boy. At least they could burn it to warm up their pudding.

That, however, is where the consensus seems to end.

On Thursday, Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe was very clear, saying: “We are having load-shedding because there is not enough generating capacity.” On the same day, energy guru Chris Yelland was equally clear when he tweeted: “There is also no shortage of generation capacity in SA. In fact we have more than enough generation capacity to meet the declining demand for electricity since 2007. Problem is that about a third (33%) of that generation capacity has been unavailable due to outages.” I suppose Phasiwe would insist that he and Yelland are saying the same thing: Whether there’s no generating capacity because you haven’t created enough or you’ve let a third of it turn into rusty monuments to Jacob Zuma, the lights are still off. The bottom line, however, is clear: Eskom might not be able to generate electricity or adequate euphemisms, but it remains world class at generating confusion. I’m no energy expert (I still believe, on some very deep level, that electricity is a very dif...

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