South Africa’s electricity minister said on Sunday the country was closer to ending daily power cuts as warmer weather returns towards the end of the year, but declined to give a specific date.
South Africa is on course to see its most blackout days in history this year with daily power cuts extending to almost 10 hours a day, affecting businesses and households in an economy already hobbled by high interest rates and inflation.
The power cuts, called loadshedding locally, is expected to shave off 2 percentage points from GDP this year, the central bank said last month.
Blackouts have eased in the past few weeks but there is a fear that as the southern hemisphere winter takes deeper hold in July and August, higher heating demand could trip many power plants. By September, the temperature starts to climb once more.
At a news conference, the Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa expressed confidence that at the current rate, generation will exceed demand once South Africa enters into its summer conditions.
Due to interventions on system maintenance and availability and efforts from businesses and households, the worst-case scenario of peak winter demand of 34,000 megawatts (MW) has not materialised, he said.
The capacity available is plateauing around 29,000 MW, giving enough room to bring the power cuts down to Stage 3, where 3,000 MW are taken off the grid, leading to between two and fours hours of daily power cuts, the minister added.