Don’t expect stable power during South Africa’s winter months: Eskom

 ·15 Mar 2021

Eskom group chief executive officer Andre de Ruyter says the embattled power utility is ‘not where it wants to be’ in terms of performance, and power reliability will remain sketchy until after winter.

Presenting on the status of Eskom on Monday (15 March), De Ruyter said that the company is making notable progress in the recovery of its operational performance, with the implementation of the Generation Recovery Programme (9-point plan) and reliability maintenance recovery (RMR) programme beginning to yield the desired outcome.

However, while there has been an improvement on some of aspects of the generation plant due to concerted efforts by Eskom employees, he said the group is “not where we want to be in terms of performance”.

“The ultimate aim is to improve performance to reduce the risk of load shedding. The enormity of this task cannot be overstated,” De Ruyter said.

Eskom chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer added that South Africa will only likely see an increase in power reliability towards September, after the country’s winter months.

“The unreliability of the ageing fleet, with an uncertainty of about 6,000MW of capacity at any given time, will remain until the reliability maintenance programme is able to address the historical maintenance backlog.

“The power system remains vulnerable and volatile with the risk of load shedding significantly reduced after the completion of the reliability maintenance by September 2021,” Oberholzer said.

“Recovering the operational performance is our top priority and we will not compromise on reliability maintenance and mid-life refurbishment.”

Eskom continues to ask South Africans to reduce demand to help to reduce or avoid load shedding.

On Sunday, Eskom announced that its stage 2 load shedding will continue until 05h00 on Wednesday (17 March) due to further breakdowns at five more power stations.

“Eskom regrets to inform the public that the implementation of stage 2 load-shedding will continue until 05h00 on Wednesday as the generation capacity is still severely constrained,” Eskom said.

“Over the past two days, Eskom teams successfully returned a generation each at the Matimba and Medupi power stations. However, during the weekend we have suffered further breakdowns at five power station, putting further strain on the generation capacity.”

Eskom said that additional breakdowns occurred at the Tutuka, Majuba, Kusile, Matimba, and Duvha power stations, which added to the constraints caused by previous breakdowns at the Kriel and Kendal power stations.

The power utility also said that there have been delays in restoring units to service at the Hendrina and Duvha power stations.

Read: ‘Code red’ at Eskom for the next 6 weeks: expert

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