Load shedding in South Africa – An On/Off History of Highs & Lows

by | Jan 31, 2023 | Solar

The history of load shedding in South Africa tells a complex narrative. A true tale of disastrous proportions that feels like a blockbuster movie plot.

Thickened with:

  • blackouts
  • breakdowns
  • blown gas turbines
  • burnt-out conveyor belts
  • strikes
  • wage disputes
  • corruption charges
  • allegations of racism
  • acts of sabotage
  • political staredowns
  • red tape
  • the mass shortage of resources
  • a diesel budget up in flames
  • mismanagement
  • and wet coal (may we never forget this)

Yet, this is not a pitch nor a film review. It is a fact:

Hero to zero, over the course of the last 15 years since load shedding in South Africa began – Eskom as an enterprise has seen its public esteem dwindle to states of resentment and dismay. A hopeless, sad, and uninspiring story of frustration. A terrible state of affairs and a very bitter pill to swallow. This is the ultimate soap opera gone wrong.

Yet it wasn’t always this way. So in comparing Eskom’s rich history to its current sorry state, we hope you understand why we are making such a radical call to change the channel – switching to solar for a sustainable schedule and energy plan.

Eskom – The Glory Days

Established in 1923 and up to an impressive 2002, Eskom generated its way into becoming one of the most prestigious energy brands in the world as the backbone of a changing South Africa. Affirming the title, National Energy Provider at all times, this was more than an 80-year-old story in the making. 

Eskom built an impressive infrastructure that started with ESCOM (it’s original name, until being renamed in 1987) electrifying railway lines and building power stations during the teething years. Staff and networks grew, voltages were raised and an interconnected grid was built before the demand soared in the 70s. This was before electricity was rolled out for all in the 1980s to early 90s. 

The incredible evolution of ESKOM saw the power utility winning the Power Company of the Year Award in 2001 during the Global Energy Awards held in New York City. Unfortunately, this was a high point from which the national utility soon fell from its lofty perch and unraveled into our current, never ending situation. 

Introducing Loadshedding in South Africa

Embattled with politics, calls for privatization, changing policies, new energy procedures, and a 1998 Energy Policy whitepaper report that predicted an unsustainable grid by 2007 – Eskom was denied expansion under that Government administration of the time that saw no development to infrastructure since 2002.
Ultimately then, the backup ran dry in 2007, and the dreaded word called “load shedding” was first uttered to the public. A process that explained the scheduled and staged interruption of power by removing a million kettles from the grid in different parts of the country at a time.

Load shedding in South Africa Goes From Bad to Worse

What turned out to be an eight-year prediction to fix sadly turned into double that figure (as of 2022) and we’re still counting. Going on 16 years in crisis and into the 100-year birthday of the company. A century of excellence was destroyed in a decade, as reported by IOL.

Over five unique periods of load shedding from 2007 to 2022, the effects of COVID-19, further dilapidation of 40-year-old power stations, war, global shortages, rising costs, court trials, changes of management and a further rise in demand for electricity saw 2022 hitting record-levels of interruption. This current year is not looking too optimistic either!

The Unbearable New Normal

Loadshedding in South Africa is currently costing the local economy an estimated R500 million rands per stage. Yes, efforts everywhere have been made to rectify the situation, but the situation is very clearly here to stay. Reaching Stage 6 recently with the potential for higher stages should interventions prove unsuccessful.

We don’t intend to frighten you, but the risk of a national blackout (power grid crash), along with the timeframe needed to make infrastructural progress are scary subjects. This goes without mentioning the subject of sabotage – internally, politically, and on a service-provider level. 

A Positive Twist in the Saga of Load shedding in South Africa

But many companies, including Versofy and various financial institutions, strive to make a difference. Working very hard at it every day to grant the opportunity to experience sustainable energy solutions for less. Ongoing innovation, particularly in the area of solar batteries, has resulted in a decrease in the overall cost of solar systems in SA. We are disrupting the market by removing barriers to entry to allow more South African households to acquire solar systems for their homes

Versofy – A Way Out of Loadshedding in South Africa

Left to our own devices, the knight in shining armor here is green energy in the form of residential solar energy for homeowners. Many claim to service you in it, but you need to pick a fully financed offering that comes in three subscription tiers and sizings when signing up your hero. We have developed market-leading solar finance solutions allowing you to join the energy revolution and say goodbye to the unending story of load shedding.

We are Versofy, and this is our audition to save your day with a range of solar pricing and subscription packages:

  •  R3499pm (Versofy GROW) – 5kW Inverter 
  •  R4799pm (Versofy CHARGE) – 8kW Inverter
  •  R5699pm (Versofy PLUS) – 12kW Inverter.

And with the recently introduced Solar as a Service (SaaS) product, we can help up this plot too:

  •  R1999pm (Versofy GROW) – 5kW Inverter 
  •  R2999pm (Versofy CHARGE) – 8kW Inverter 
  •  R3599pm (Versofy PLUS) – 12 kW Inverter.

Take “action” and rewrite your energy future by visiting our website to apply for a solar subscription today!

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No matter your electricity requirements. Switch and become a part of the renewable energy revolution. By switching to a suitable solar power system you help protect the environment and reduce your reliance on the South African electricity grid.

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