Eskom problems could take a decade to fix

Eskom chief executive Tshediso Matona says that the company’s power supply woes may take up to a decade to rectify.

In a quarterly ‘state of the system’ update at Megawatt Park, in Johannesburg on Thursday, Motana said that the group’s equipment has become so unreliable, that the risk of breakdown is constant.

He said that a loss of 1,000 or more megawatts forces the company into load shedding due to a lack of reserves.

“Any fault in the system, pushes us into load shedding,” he said.

He said that Eskom will need 5,000 MW in order to address its maintenance backlog.

He noted that the company’s approach has been to defer maintenance and use diesel, at a cost exceeding R1 billion per month. He said that Eskom has arrived at a point where it cannot continue this practice any longer.

He compared the group’s position to that of a car. “We have been on reserve, but the dial continues to move to the point where you could have a breakdown. We have all but exhausted the reserve space, and that is a space where we are vulnerable as a country to any slight trigger that pushes us over.”

He said that if you continue to drive the car without maintenance, it would eventually pack up. “I (have) used the words – we are living on edge,” the CEO said.

Matona said that a failure to adhere to its maintenance philosophy, could mean that the company takes 10 years to rectify.

He said that Eskom would probably require as long as it took to create its power problem to overcome it. “We are talking about years and years,” the CEO said.

Reauters reported that Eskom expects the power grid to remain constrained for the next two to three years, citing a spokesman for the company.

“For the next two to three years the system will be constrained. When we have more demand than supply we will have to load shed,” Khulu Phasiwe told Reuters ahead of the news conference.

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Eskom problems could take a decade to fix