South Africa’s power utility Eskom has said that the low electricity demand during the lockdown has given it an opportunity to carry out much needed maintenance on its aging power stations. However, it also said that the lower electricity usage will have negative financial implications.
Sikonathi Mantshantsha, spokesperson for Eskom, said electricity usage dropped by as much as 9500MW on 31 March, 2020. On Sunday, it was down 6000MW compared to before the lockdown. Matshantsha said: “While this gives Eskom a much-needed break to carry out much-needed and long overdue maintenance on power stations, it obviously has big financial implications for Eskom and consequences for the consumers of electricity.”
Eskom has announced it did not foresee any need to implement load-shedding during the Covid-19 lockdown period.
Eskom said that to protect the integrity of the system, it had started taking some generating units off the grid. These units are available to return to service at short notice should the need arise. The company said: “Eskom advises that as an essential and critical services provider, some of its personnel are exempt from the provisions of the lockdown. As such, we do not expect any impediments to the generation and supply of electricity during this period.”