Eskom: power tight for 2 more years

Eskom says that the threat of load-shedding may continue for the next two years, as it continues with an intensive maintenance programme.

Andrew Etsinger, GM for demand management at the power utility was speaking to Talk Radio 702.

“I’d say the probability of load shedding is low, but it’s always in the background…our reserve margins are low, and that is due to the fact that we are doing a large amount of maintenance on our generation fleet…we continue to urge and ask for the support from our customers,” Etsinger said.

“If we can keep the damand at these levels, or slightly lower, well be fine.”

He noted, however, that the more electricity consumed, particularly amid the recent hot spell, “puts us closer to the edge”.

Eskom said that the Medupi coal-fired plant will initially not make a big difference to power supply. The project has seen several delays, mostly due to labour strikes.

“Unfortunately its not going to make a big difference. We are going to be in a tight situation for the next two years. Medupi will be producing power onto the grids by the end of this year, but all it will really do is enable us to take one or two generators out of service for maintenance,” Etsinger said.

The executive said further that Eskom would have an intensive maintenance programme over the next two years.

“Although Medupi will give us much relief, its only when a couple of the generators come on stream – that will be in a couple of years’ time – that we will start to get additional significant capacity,” he warned.

He said that labour issues at Medupi had been ironed out with the project “back on track”.

Last week Fitch Ratings upgraded Eskom’s national long-term ratings to AAA(zaf), while in November, Brian Dames resigned as chief executive of the power utility.

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Eskom: power tight for 2 more years