Homecare patients affected by Eskom’s rolling blackouts

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By Kaya 959 News

Homecare patients who use oxygen supply at home have been severely affected by the rolling blackouts.

Patients with emphysema are at most risk as they have to be on oxygen for at least 12 to 15 hours a day.

The DA’s Haseena Ismail said they have been inundated with numerous reports that the unreliability of Eskom’s loadshedding schedule and extended loadshedding hours has meant that some medical facilities and private individuals do not have backup power to keep these machines going.

She said with the third wave of COVID-19 infections sweeping across the country, many South Africans will depend on oxygen machines to save their lives.

“These patients have very low oxygen levels and could die if their oxygen supply has suddenly stopped due to rolling blackouts. Most people cannot afford rechargeable oxygen machines, and this could mean loss of life,” she said.

Ismail said Eskom is playing with people’s lives with these rolling blackouts.

“The power utility should have the decency to provide a proper and reliable schedule to the public. It is not normal that South Africans’ natural right to breathe is being undermined by Eskom.

“This while it suspends loadshedding between noon and 5pm in order for parliamentarians to conduct their work. While the work of Parliament is critical, the lives and livelihoods of all South Africans are also just as important,” she said.

Stage 1 loadshedding

Last week, Eskom announced that it would suspend for five hours for a virtual sitting of Parliament to pass a series of Appropriation Bills.

It said this was in response to a request from the Deputy Speaker of Parliament.

Eskom said the suspension of loadshedding was made possible by large industrial power consumers who agreed to reduce their consumption for this period to support the country.

Eskom reduced loadshedding to Stage 1 on Sunday between 5pm and 10pm.

“The power system remains constrained and vulnerable and Eskom will communicate promptly should there be any changes.  These capacity constraints will continue for the foreseeable future and all South Africans are urged to reduce their use of electricity, particularly between 5pm and 10pm, when the winter demand is the highest,” Eskom said.

No nuclear safety concerns at Koeberg

Meanwhile, Eskom announced the suspension of Koebery Power Station GM, Velaphi Ntuli, pending investigations into the performance of the nuclear station.

“Riedewaan Bakardien will oversee all the operations of the power station,” Eskom said.

Eskom is currently experiencing loadshedding that is affecting the entire country and its economy.

“One of Eskom’s biggest generating units with a capacity of 900MW, Koeberg Unit 1 has been on an outage since January 2021, and could have assisted in reducing the depth of loadshedding had the unit been brought back on time as originally planned,” it noted.

Eskom confirmed that there are no nuclear safety concerns at Koeberg, and if needed the required time will be taken to complete all the outstanding work-scope before returning unit 1 to the grid.

“Leadership has been concerned with outage performance at Koeberg nuclear power plant, and the recent outage on Unit 1 has again been plagued with delays resulting in significant slippage on the return to service date. The unit is currently planned to return to service during the third week of June,” Eskom said.