South Africa is getting closer to ending daily power outages when warmer weather arrives towards the end of the year, according to the country’s electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, but he did not provide a precise date when it will happen.
Load shedding has eased in recent weeks, but there are concerns that as winter sets in July and August, higher heating demand could bring many power plants to a standstill. In September, temperatures begin to rise again.
“I know when we get into summer conditions, then at the current rate, generation will far exceed demand,” Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said in a news conference, Zawya reported.
Due to interventions in system maintenance and availability, as well as efforts by businesses and households, the worst-case scenario of a winter peak demand of 34,000 megawatts (MW) has not materialized, he said.
Available capacity is stagnating at around 29,000 MW, giving enough headroom for blackouts to be reduced to Stage 3, in which 3,000 MW will be taken offline, resulting in daily blackouts of between two and four hours, the minister added.
Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said the country is reaching a stage where power generation can keep up with demand and load shedding will drop from Level 6 to Level 3 within six weeks.
In South Africa there could soon be no more power outages for 24 hours, he said.
“I want to say to the South African people we are much, much closer to that date,” he added.
Meanwhile, EskomSePush, an app that notifies users of power cuts, is becoming the go-to platform to find gig work in South Africa.
EskomSePush was launched in 2014 to keep South Africans informed about load shedding or controlled power outages. Today it has just over 7 million active users.
With the country’s worsening energy crisis, EskomSePush is among the top 20 most downloaded apps on the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store in South Africa.
In addition to power outage notifications, the app has a popular feature called AskMyStreet, which users use to seek help with hyper-local issues, such as finding missing pets and finding online gaming partners.