Loving Life TV

Eskom fury heats up

Home Forums A SECURITY AND NEWS FORUM Eskom fury heats up

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 1 post (of 1 total)
  • Author
  • #389129
    Nat Quinn

    So too are the costs ‒ to the economy and the country’s psyche.

    As powerless South Africans face Stage 6 blackouts “for the foreseeable future”, the country’s leadership remains silent on any plan to solve a national disaster that threatens the very stability of the nation.

    Rubbing salt into the wound, the electricity pricing regulator Nersa on Thursday approved Eskom price hikes of 32% over two years.

    The first increase of 18.65% for standard tariff customers comes in April, and the second of 12.74% in April next year. Municipalities add their own charges to these rates.

    There will be no cooling off from the summer heat ‒ or the winter cold ‒ as the utility said the blackouts would be in place until “problems are resolved over the next six to 12 months”.

    Eskom group chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer warned of the possibility of unplanned outages adding to the burden. The country had lost 155 days of power since last January and burnt millions of litres of diesel on open-cycle gas turbines.

    “Due to the vulnerability and unpredictability of the power system, coupled with the major capital projects, maintenance and major repairs to be executed starting during the next few months, the risk of continued load shedding remains quite high,” Oberholzer said

    Story continues below Advertisement

    Energy economist Ted Blom said that with the correct team in place and no political interference, it could take three to six months to turn Eskom around.

    However, speaking to the Independent on Saturday yesterday (Friday), Blom offered no hope.

    “Under current conditions and politics, there is zero solution,” he said.

    Story continues below Advertisement

    South Africans are now experiencing up to 10 hours of rolling blackouts a day with experts predicting that it will only get worse.

    President Cyril Ramaphosa has not addressed the nation about the crisis or provided a clear message on how it is going to be solved.

    “It is a rudderless government that can’t provide the necessary plans or encouragement,” said political economy analyst Daniel Silke. He stressed that South Africa was in a dangerous situation, because rolling blackouts affected not only the economy, but social and political stability and security.

    “It is very surprising to me that we have had this silence from the president on the matter,” Silke added. “The longer the crisis goes on, the more the president’s credibility is going to suffer and this should encourage him to take a stronger leadership role on this.”

    Ramaphosa’s spokesman Vincent Magwenya told journalists at a media briefing on Thursday that the president deeply regretted the energy crisis and called for solutions to be found urgently.

    “What they are doing is not working,” says energy expert Chris Yelland. “We know that the national energy crisis committee was announced in July and a number of work streams were established but there has been no sign of concrete action.

    “We are not expecting sudden changes overnight, but if you have a plan, then tell us what it is.”

    Anger over longer hours without electricity, no respite from the heat of summer and financial hardship contributed to chronic stress and anxiety.

    Clinical psychologist and expert on climate change and mental health, Dr Garret Barnwell, warned of an increase in conflict, violence and mental health crises.

    “International studies suggest that with the increased heat and exposure to the sun comes chronic stress, depression, anxiety, interpersonal conflicts such as gender-based violence and violence generally. Research also shows a decrease in work productivity and increase in mental health hospital admissions.”

    He said it was concerning when combined with water, food and financial insecurity which were “among one’s daily essence of being in the world”.

    He said people who had more means or resources were able to respond better.

    “If you’re a small business owner and you might not have the financial means to adapt your business to this change in environment. There could be a work productivity loss because one can’t connect to the internet or run things like hair dryers,” he said.

    A major cause for concern about health care during long-term load shedding was the cost and availability of diesel to run generators.

    KZN Department of Health spokesperson Ntokozo Maphisa said with the prolonged hours, they were experiencing challenges with running out of and replacing diesel.

    “All the department’s hospitals and 24-hour clinics always have generators, as do at least 75% of the day clinics. The department continues to seek ways to equip the remainder of the day clinics with generators, subject to budget availability.”

    The National Employers Association of South Africa (Neasa) refused to accept that increased funding is the solution to Eskom’s problems.

    “Additional income will still flow to corrupt individuals and incompetent municipalities who refuse to settle their bills with Eskom,” said CEO Gerhard Papenfus.

    “Although South Africa is not a failed state yet, the state’s trajectory is clearly in that direction,” Papenfus said yesterday.

    “Government’s failure to sustain the essential elements of a functioning state, such as sound leadership which inspires respect, integrity in governance, safety and security, and the maintaining of infrastructure, is most visible in the collapse of Eskom.”

    Free Market Foundation chief executive officer David Ansara stressed the urgency of stepping away from the utility’s state-centric model.

    “There is no need for a single entity to be responsible for generation and transmission of power. Generation, particularly, needs to seek private involvement. I think the crisis really is at an advanced stage.”

    However he was sceptical that those in power, given their ideological leanings and commitments, would relinquish state control.

    Anger and frustration could manifest in more frequent accidents and incidents of road rage at intersections where traffic lights were off for longer.

    “We deploy traffic officers at big intersections only, because of the shortage of manpower. In places with no officers directing traffic when the robots are not working, we advise motorists to stop, observe and allow others to pass and you can go ahead too.

    “The most important thing is to stop first before proceeding,” said Metro Police senior superintendent Boysie Zungu, who also advised motorists to be patient when in traffic.

    Safety in a country struggling with high crime rates was another concern as extended power cuts affected security systems.

    The biggest cause of an alarm system failing during load shedding, which means a security company’s control office will not get a client’s signal, is a depleted battery, said Marshall Security’s Tyrone Powell.

    “Don’t be left vulnerable. Check the battery regularly. We also recommend investing in a back-up battery to prevent any down time while the power is out.”

    Powell suggested other options such as inverters, generators, LED lights, rechargeable light bulbs, solar panels, for visibility outside at night.

    “With more frequent load shedding, connectivity to cellular networks increasingly diminishes. Consider getting devices on different networks and plan ahead for offline communication.”

    Then keep your phone battery full, he said.

    “Keep a power bank and spare USB charger close at hand for any emergency charges.”

    Garage doors and gate motors were vulnerable to load shedding, said Kwadukuza Systems’ Ravi Naidoo, who warned that power surges usually came with a heavy current which “blows” most transformers, causing batteries to run low.

    The first sign that a battery hasn’t charged is when the gate slows down or it does not have enough power to open completely.

    He said while motorised gates could be opened manually, it’s more difficult to do so with a garage door, warning that if vehicles were stuck inside the garage, it could take a day or two until a technician can go out and assist the customer.

    Staying fit during load shedding and high temperatures could be frustrating.

    Manager and trainer Michelle Buxton, at Fast Fitness Gym in Bulwer Road, said they had to think ahead.

    “We also have an inverter and are able to keep the fans on and the music going,” she said.

    “We are looking at solar power to contend with more frequent load shedding.”

    Buxton said exercise workout programmes might also have to adapt to the heat and humidity.

    “Not too much cardiac, not too much exertion. Certain types of yoga are suited to a hot environment. There’s a lot you can do.”

    The Independent on Saturday

    Eskom fury heats up (iol.co.za)

Viewing 1 post (of 1 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.