South Africa

Load-shedding under Eskom CEOs from 2007 to 2022

Data from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) revealed that load-shedding under former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter was much worse than under his predecessors.

The CSIR’s statistics of utility-scale power generation in South Africa revealed that the country experienced 11,529 GWh of load-shedding in 2022.

It was numerous times higher than in previous years, with the duration and intensity of power cuts increasing.

“2022 overtook 2021 as the most intensive load-shedding year yet, more than four times more, and far exceeded 2019’s stage 6 load shedding,” the CSIR said.

It said South Africans experienced more load-shedding between July to September 2022 than in any previous year.

It got even worse. December 2022 had more load-shedding than in any year before. 2022 was also the first year that most load-shedding was in stage 4, not stage 2.

2023 started even worse. So far, Eskom has implemented load-shedding every day, which has never happened before.

De Ruyter admitted that the poor performance of Eskom’s coal-fired power plants, and hence load-shedding, was his biggest failure as chief executive.

He told ENCA’s Annika Larsen he failed in the readily measurable objectives, including load-shedding. “That is the elephant in the room,” he said.

Speaking to 702, De Ruyter said the high levels of load-shedding during his time at the power utility would forever be a black mark against his name.

Eskom board chairperson Mpho Makwana said they were unhappy with De Ruyter’s performance and that the former Eskom CEO was not fulfilling his key duties.

Makwana said De Ruyter focussed on renewables instead of fixing existing coal power plants and improving their performance.

SARS commissioner Edward Kieswetter also said the former Eskom CEO’s focus on a just energy transition could have him accept that Eskom’s plant performance would deteriorate.

“As South Africans, we must expect a better performance of Eskom’s current installed capacity,” Kieswetter said.

The chart below, which shows annual load-shedding under former Eskom CEOs, illustrates why many people criticize De Ruyter’s performance for being unable to keep the lights on.

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