Eskom has indicated that South Africa will have to contend with load shedding until at least September this year.

The power utility’s Chief Operations Officer, Jan Oberholzer, told reporters that Eskom faces the uncertainty of about 6 000 megawatts of capacity at any given time and that electricity supply would remain volatile until the maintenance plan is completed later this year.

“The unreliability of the ageing fleet with an uncertainty of about 6 000 MW 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,” he says.

He was speaking at a media conference as the country entered its sixth day of stage 2 load shedding.

Oberholzer says the utility is focusing on correcting design defects at newer power stations, extending the life of older operating units, reducing unplanned outages, and managing coal quality.

“While there is an improvement on some of the aspects of the generation due to concerted efforts by Eskom employees, we are 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,” he says.

Eskom briefs the media in the video below: