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    National power grid collapse highly unlikely, says Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa

    May 18, 2023 - Rapula Moatshe


      Pretoria - Minister of Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, assured the Nissan Manufacturing Plant in Rosslyn, Pretoria, it was “highly unlikely” for the country to have a national power grid collapse and be plunged into total blackouts.

      Ramokgopa expressed the commitment this week during his visit to the vehicle manufacturing plant, where he interacted with Nissan’s senior managers on the current electricity crisis evidenced by recurring load shedding.

      Power utility, Eskom, is currently implementing stage 6 of rotational load shedding across the country.

      In allaying fears the country could face a total blackout, Ramokgopa told Nissan representatives that such an eventuality was “highly unlikely”.

      According to him, the power utility had the system operator who has “in his pocket, 2 200 megawatts” reserved to keep the lights on in the event the grid capacity was seriously strained to the point of collapse.

      Ramokgopa said the system operator would not take instructions from anyone, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, “and he makes a determination that this is what I am going to do in the interest of the grid”.

      “If we are at stage 4, he could have decided that I am now deploying 2?200 megawatts, and we would be at stage 2, and he would not do that because that is what he uses to protect the grid. So, it is highly unlikely for us to have a grid collapse,” he said.

      He, however, said the country would have plans for a grid collapse in the event of the worst-case scenario.

      “I am also sure here in the plant, you also plan for a worst-case scenario, and not necessarily about electricity. I am not sure of the worst-case scenario that can happen in the plant. But it is like 0.0001%, but you have a plan for it. We will also have plans for a grid collapse,” he said.

      In a media statement this week, Eskom also dispelled claims circulating on various social media that the country would soon experience the collapse of the national electricity grid.

      “Eskom refutes these claims and would like to assure South Africans that there are measures in place to avoid the collapse of the power system. Load shedding is one of these mechanisms.

      “The risk of a national blackout, while inherent to the operation of a large power system, has an extremely low likelihood of materialising, given the implementation of a number of control measures, including load shedding,” the utility said.

      Eskom said the grid was by no means at a higher or imminent risk of a collapse, saying, “it would take an unforeseen and sudden sequence of events that results in a cascading collapse of the transmission or generation system, leading to a complete loss of supply across the country”.

      At the Enlit Africa conference on Tuesday, Eskom’s interim group chief executive Calib Cassim said he didn’t lose sleep on the issue because there are several controls in place.

      “This is due to the confidence in the staff at the system operator who have the competence to manage the tight system for the past three years,” the utility said.

      Nissan was yet to react to the assurance by Ramokgopa that the possibility of a total blackout was almost non-existent.

      Pretoria News


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