Ahead of lockdown South Africans were living in constant fear of loadshedding being implemented at the drop of a hat.

Lockdown has proved to be a blessing in disguise for Eskom, in some respects, owing largely to a drop in demand.

On Wednesday, Eskom chief executive officer Andre de Ruyter said that demand had dropped by an average of 7 500MW largely due to major industries being closed.

This has given Eskom room to conduct short-term maintenance and source additional capacity, and as such the utility doesn’t expect loadshedding to be as much of a feature as we move into Winter.

“We believe that with these interventions that the likelihood of load shedding for the coming winter has been significantly reduced from our previous forecast,” said de Ruyter.

The CEO says that the maintenance and additional capacity has dropped the expected loadshedding for the next quarter to go from 31 days to just just three days.

“We are taking advantage of the unfortunate circumstances associated with this pandemic,” de Ruyter said according to a report by Fin24.

“Through our short term maintenance efforts created additional buffer capacity of 2 000 MW,” the CEO added.

The downside of decreased demand, however, is that Eskom is losing out on revenue. According to EWN, Eskom will lose R2.5 billion in cash generated for April.

That’s what we know now and a full impact assessment regarding losses during lockdown is yet to be done.

While short-term maintenance has been able to take place, not all maintenance has been able to take place. Restrictions on the movement of people, especially contractors from abroad means longer term maintenance can’t take place.

Once lockdown is lifted to a point where contractors from abroad can assist Eskom, the utility expects maintenance to last for 12 – 18 months.

For now, we may still have loadshedding in Winter but lockdown has proved to be helpful in bringing that risk down somewhat.