Pandemic Covid-19 is posing a serious threat to ailing power producer Eskom as it struggles to catch up with daily technical breakdowns at its power stations.
Energy expert Chris Yelland said data he had received from the utility is showing that South Africa was using lower than projected electricity this winter because of the lockdown.
But despite this, Eskom was not able to conduct the necessary deep maintenance its infrastructure was long overdue for.
He said this was because the parts and expertise needed to do this was overseas and could not be imported any time soon.
Travel restrictions globally have restricted various industrial activities in the public and private sector in South Africa, including energy, mining and car manufacturing.
The return to load shedding last week raises questions about the supposed plan by Eskom to use the three-month hard lockdown this year to conduct extra maintenance while the national demand for power was at its lowest.
The utility was not ready for the upsurge in demand as the country slowly began to open up last month.
“At least three different generation units experienced faults in the space of two days last week, leading to fresh bouts of power cuts.
“According to Eskom data, while daily demand is currently higher than during the Level 5 lockdown, South Africa is currently using power at lower rates than projected at the beginning of the year for this winter.”