Home OpinionLuqmaan Rawat [OPINION] Eskom failures have made going off grid necessary

[OPINION] Eskom failures have made going off grid necessary

by Luqmaan Rawat
With Eskom’s failure’s, not just the power ones, going off grid is the only solution to having electricity 24/7
Photo Pexels

South Africa – You never know how used to loadshedding you have become until you find yourself planning your life around it. From going out with friends to planning  when’s the perfect time to start preparing your meals. It has become increasingly obvious that we can no longer rely on Eskom to provide us with electricity.

Eskom is like the Titanic. The only difference is the ANC knew about the iceberg, were told which direction to steer the ship but decided to knock into it anyway. It is sinking and it is sinking fast. With loadshedding only getting worse as time goes by, going off grid is no longer a choice. It is necessary if we wish to have some sense of normality in a rundown country.

Paying for Eskom corruption

To add insult to injury, Eskom has increased their tariffs by 9,61%. Not only do we have to put up with loadshedding three times a day, but we must now pay more to save a corrupt entity. The increase is to help Eskom pay off its R400bn debt it has incurred because of its incompetence and corruption.

Tutuka power station is a prime example of why we are suffering today. Back in March last year it was revealed that Eskom had to write off R1.3bn in spares at the power station because they could not be found. Although three suspects were arrested it will not be them paying off that debt, but innocent consumers like you and me. Every time your lights go out, it is a reminder that we are paying for crimes we did not commit.

SMread: Government is responsible for loadshedding

The ANC have ensured the destruction of Eskom

Pre-1994 Eskom was only focused on providing electricity at an affordable rate to people. In fact, Eskom reliably produced the cheapest electricity in the world. While we still enjoy relatively low prices compared to the rest of the world, it has gone up drastically with the added benefit of rolling blackouts.

In 1996 the Southern African Development Community (SADC) handed over a report to the ANC outlining what needed to be done to keep the lights on. SADC advised the government to continue to build power stations if it wished to have power come 2007. In response, the ANC decided to shut down Eskom departments in charge of building power stations and ignored the report.

Eventually they decided to build two new coal power stations – Kusile and Medupi – but unsurprisingly failed abysmally to do it right. With all those who knew how to build power stations gone, both were riddled with bad designs, shoddy workmanship and ran massively over budget. Another failure to add to the lengthy list of the ANC-run Eskom failure list.

Enriching their friends while watching the country suffer

There was never a plan in place to ensure Eskom was run as effectively as it did pre-1994. What we saw as an electricity producer, the ANC saw as a source of income to enrich those who were close to them. Infrastructure was left to deteriorate as that money was syphoned off to their powerful friends and relatives. They implemented affirmative action and BEE without having those of the past pass their knowledge on. The workforce increased while the output magically decreased. Eskom has twice as many employees than it did in the past while it produces less electricity.

In the past Eskom was supplied with good, cheap, coal from coalfields situated adjacent to the power stations. That all changed under the ANC who instead bought bad, expensive coal from BEE mines dotted far and wide. Not only sending Eskom’s energy costs soaring but transporting it on trucks which left our national roads damaged.

Bryntirion Estate, east of Pretoria’s CBD, houses members of the executive, who also, unsurprisingly suffer no loadshedding. A complex that houses President Ramaphosa’s Cabinet is exempt from loadshedding but hospitals in the area are not. It is rubbing salt in our deep cut wounds. Every time we experience loadshedding, we are paying for something we did not cause. The ones who have run Eskom down sit with their lights, heaters, and electric blankets turned on while the rest of the country suffers in the freezing cold, some more than others.

SMread: Masafer Yatta residents facing forced removal

Going off grid is the only solution

While there have been calls to have a private entity compete with Eskom, it simply is not possible. We pay around R2.558 per kWh. The global average is around R2.109 per kWh. Places like Denmark, United Kingdom and Belgium pay around R4 to R5 per kWh. Having a private entity come in to compete with Eskom, even with their rising tariffs, seems unlikely. The only viable option now is to go off grid.

The choice has been made for us. Either we sit in darkness for more hours every day or go off grid and try enjoy life. The situation at Eskom is not improving anytime soon. The ANC has shown time and time again they are not capable of leading and improving. The longer they are in charge, the worse things will get. Either the ANC is removed or be prepared for longer hours of load shedding if you remain on the grid.

Related Videos