We haven’t spoken about load sheddding lately. Maybe we thought that if we just kept our mouths shut and touched wood that it would go away and not bother us again.

Unfortunately, just like your mother-inlaw, ignoring load shedding doesn’t mean you won’t have to face them at family gatherings and every other birthday. Except with loadshedding there’s no tummy ache or “illness” that can excuse you from the pain.

If you haven’t heard by now South Africa has been in an economic crisis and GDP has been suffering. The reason that the outages have decreased over the last couple of months isn’t because supply has increased or that the government is taking better care of the country, the scary truth is that we have been producing less goods which requires less electricity. The GDP slumped an annualised 3.2% in the first quarter, the biggest downtrend in a decade.

The simple truth is that if the Gross Domestic Product rises just 0.1% it will most likely result in power outages, Nelisiwe Magubane, an Eskom board member, said at an event organised by Afriforesight in Johannesburg on Wednesday. The fact remains that Eskom simply doesn’t generate enough power to meet that kind of demand South Africa has. The energy availability of Eskom’s generation fleet is supposed to be as high as 80%, but is currently as low as 69%. “We haven’t seen load shedding because demand is going south,” said Mike Rossouw, an independent energy adviser. “If demand picks up tomorrow you will be seeing load shedding every day.”

The Catch 22: We Want the Country to do Well but Load shedding Destroys Our Businesses

Eskom supplies 95% of South Africa’s power and has accumulated so much debt that it’s been reliant on government bailouts for a while to remain operational. That isn’t the only thing we are worried about, most of the power stations are heading into retirement age and have not been maintained well enough. The contruction of the 2 new plants are years behind schedule to help us out. So what is the plan to prevent the national grid from collapsing all together? We are still waiting for an answer from our president.

Just a small acceleration in economic growth could trigger power cuts with our state-owned infamous Eskom’s system that is unable to respond to the increased demand. So here we are in a bit of a pickel as we need our country to do better for our standard of living to increase but we also need our electricity to basically…function.

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