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Minister hopes for Eskom CEO with energy sector understanding

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Electricity Minister Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa says he’s hoping that the new Eskom CEO is someone who understands the energy sector and can support power stations.

Plans are at an advanced stage to appoint Eskom’s Group Chief Executive with three candidate names shortlisted for cabinet consideration.

The power entity has been operating without a CEO since the resignation of Andre de Ruyter last year.

The Minister in the Presidency responsible for Electricity continues with a series of follow-up visits to Eskom power stations. He visited Lethabo power station in Vereeniging on Tuesday.

This is in order to advance the necessary interventions required to fix Eskom power stations and bring to an end load shedding.

The Minister also addresses workers and labour unions on the work done to ensure energy security. Ramokgopa says support for performing power stations become pivotal.

“Lethabo in particular is a second-best performing power station. Their energy availability factor is about 76% so their target for the year is 77%. It’s important that in the midst of the challenges we go to our best performers, affirm them, and give the necessary support. I will be going also to stations notorious for underperforming and urge the employees to better their performance but also understand what is the additional amount of support that is required.”

 

He says work is being done at the top to ensure Eskom leadership is stabilised so that power stations like Lethabo are supported and protected as it forms part of the country’s best-performing station alongside Medupi.

“The board has submitted 3 names of appointable people and it is from that pool of names that the minister Gordhan will take the names to Cabinet that will apply its mind and then we have a CEO of Eskom. Hopefully, this will be someone with a great appreciation of how the system works, an appreciation of the internal working of the energy space, and will carry on with the work that we are doing to support power stations.”

The Lethabo power station suffered its breakdown this week. The General Manager Karobo Rakgolela says the ministry’s support is critical.

“I normally joke and say when Lethabo coughs, South Africa catches flu and that’s what we saw today we had two units that tripped one after the other but we are already bringing them back, unit 4 should be back on load to support evening peak and by morning peak we will have unit 5. I’ve told the minister that our biggest challenge is getting coal from mines to keep the mine going. What we do need is an investment into the mine.”

The minister also reveals that R390 billion is needed to expand the grid to accommodate new generation capacity and ensure the ultimate end to load shedding. He is hopeful that the new CEO will be appointed at Eskom soon to ensure plans are realised and the economy is cushioned and stations like Lethabo are supported.

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