Eskom plans to ramp up planned outages for maintance: Kgosientsho Ramokgopa

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Eskom plans to ramp up planned outages for maintenance, as the cold winter months come to an end, and power demand is anticipated to come down.

Electricity Minister, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, says the energy availability factor is averaging 60%, up from about 48% in April.

He says the planned maintenance will help build the resilience of the power stations, and shore up supply capacity.

As South Africa enters warmer months with expected less power demand, Eskom plans to ramp up planned outages for maintenance.

Electricity Minister, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, says this will eliminate unplanned capacity loss.

He says the recently improved power availability is supported by some power stations such as Lethabo, Matimba, Camden, Duvha and Majuba. But others such as Hendrina, Grootvlei, Kusile, and Tutuka remain a drag, with below 30% energy availability factor due to various challenges.

“The more we are able to do planned maintenance, it speaks to our ability and confidence that the units are going to become more reliable, but also that opportunity for increased planned maintenance is a function of the available capacity. So, the more it rises, two things should be noted, it means that it rises without intensifying load shedding, it means that the available capacity is going up, the performance of these units is going up on a consistent basis and we want to shore up that consistent performance by taking out these units and fixing them.”

Eskom says it has spent R9,2 billion on diesel for its open-cycle gas turbines to supplement generation capacity. When including electricity generated from independent producers using diesel, Eskom has spent R12.4 billion on diesel since April.

Head of Project Management Office Rudi Dicks says, “In May, the budget was R2.7 billion, and the total amount that was burnt was R3.1 billion. The year to date – that is from the beginning of the financial year until the end of April – the budget for diesel was R9.7 billion and the actual figure for the amount of diesel spent is R9.2 billion. So, we are well within budget, in actual fact, less than that.”

Eskom has refuted claims by the National Union of Mineworkers that the utility and the Department of Public Enterprises are unilaterally implementing the decision to break the power utility into three entities without proper consultation with unions and the public.

The union is against the unbundling, saying it won’t save Eskom from its troubles.

Eskom group executive for transmission, Monde Bala, says, “The process of distribution, (and) unbundling started with the announcement of the Eskom roadmap in 2019. it did not start with the publication of the letter that we saw last week. So, that process includes quite a number of steps, which we had been undertaking for the past year and a half, such as the registration of distribution entities and the PFMA 1 approval, which was secured from both the minister of finance and also the minister of public enterprise.

Eskom is currently implementing load shedding, alternating between stages 1 and 3.

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