Eskom cuts supply to neighbouring countries

By Staff Writer
Ever felt enraged about why other countries get supplied with electricity while we here in South Africa we suffer from power outages? Well according to the government, this isn’t necessarily the case. In some cases electricity could be cut out entirely while at times other countries we supply may have to do with less.

Public Enterprises minister Lynne Brown reportedly told Fin24, that despite South Africa having power agreements with several countries, Eskom could interrupt the power supply to Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The way it works is that Eskom is a member of the South African Power Pool (SAPP) and it hashas bilateral electricity trading agreements with most SAPP members to export and import electricity. “Eskom is aware of its responsibility to South Africa regarding the exporting of electricity when the domestic supply-demand balance is constrained,” a spokesperson told Justmoney.

SAPP members

Eskom has two types of agreements with the SAPP members. There are firm agreements, which means that the power supply cannot be cut-off, and non-firm agreements, which means that the supply can be terminated when necessary.

Members of the SAPP include:

·         Eskom,
·         Botswana Power Cooperation,
·         Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi,
·         Electricidade de Mozambqiue,
·         Lesotho Electricity Corporation,
·         Swaziland Electricity Company,
·         Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, and
·         Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Ltd.

Principles of emergencies

Eskom explained that it has several principles that it applies during power system emergencies:

1.       During these emergency periods, trading partners are required to make use of their maximum generating capacity.

2.       Non-firm energy supplies, with countries such as Botswana and Namibia, are stopped during times of emergency, while “industrial customers across the border (including firms Mozal and Skorpion Zinc) are interrupted in line with the terms of their agreements”.

3.       Electricity supply to countries with firm agreements, such as Swaziland and Lesotho, is cut by 10%.

4.       “Trading Partners are required to enforce the 10% reduction on their customer base,” revealed Eskom.

5.       When South Africa implements load shedding, all sales of energy to Namibia and Botswana are withdrawn, and Swaziland and Lesotho are required to do proportional load shedding.

Eskom also highlighted that in addition to exporting electricity to SAPP members, the power utility also imports electricity from power producer Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa and power generation firm Aggreko in Mozambique, as well as non-firm imports from Lesotho and Namibia on occasion.

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