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SA should not rule out Stage 8 rolling blackouts: Expert

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Energy Expert Sampson Mamphweli says South Africans should not rule out the possibility of Eskom implementing Stage 8 rolling blackouts.

The further loss of other generating units has forced the power utility to implement Stage 6 power cuts until Friday morning.

Mamphweli says should blackouts could be ramped up to Stage 8 should Eskom experience more problems at power stations.

He says, “At the way things are going, we can’t rule it out because we didn’t expect load shedding at this point in time. The Eskom power stations break down anytime, so if we have further problems then we could see ourselves going to Stage 8 load shedding.”

Tariff hikes

On Wednesday, energy expert Professor Mark Swilling said without financial intervention from government, Eskom has no choice but to propose electricity tariff hikes.

The National Energy Regulator (Nersa) is yet to decide on Eskom’s tariff increases for the coming financial years with the power utility reportedly trying to hike prices by over 30%.

Swilling said Eskom cannot be financially viable if government fails to assist.

“It’s like a perfect storm increasing load shedding and rising costs. From Eskom’s point of view, as a business, government has not yet come to the party to take over the debt or a portion of the R400 billion outstanding debt which Eskom cannot service. There is declining maintenance, so the energy available is dropping. If you take all of that into account, Eskom is saying if you want us to be viable as a business, this is the revenue we need.”

They are also selling less energy, so they have to increase the price. From Eskom’s point of view, it is justifiable. They need to be financially viable if government does not come to the party.”

Source: SABC News

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