There are mixed reactions from some of the political parties in Parliament regarding the performance of the Eskom Board as it marks a year in office.
Some parties say the board has made steady progress in tackling some of the challenges facing the power utility.
While others say the entity is far from reaching its target of improving the energy availability factor to 70% in 2025.
The Eskom board assumed office on the first of October last year. Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan mandated it to, among other things, deal immediately with rolling blackouts issues. As well as ensuring that energy supply is reliable in the medium to long term.
However, the DA believes that the board is far from achieving these goals.
DA MP Ghaleb Cachalia says, “The much-taunted target for the hugely increased energy availability factor is clearly a pie in the sky. Firstly, the inclusion of non-coal technologies presents a distorted picture of the energy availability factor and the coal energy availability factor is also open to manipulation like it was during the State Capture – where units were run at break and speed without regard to mechanical failure or required maintenance.”
The ACDP Chief Whip, Steve Swart says while it appreciates that the board inherited an entity that was in a state of crisis, it must move at a faster pace.
“We believe that far more could and should have been done to improve the energy availability factor and reduce rolling blackouts. All indications are however that rolling blackouts will be with us for a long time to come despite assurances to the contrary it is then imperative that Parliament and in particular the Public Enterprises Committee holds the board and the minister accountable for the poor state of affairs at Eskom.”
The Al Jama-ah party leader, Ganief Hendricks says the board has made steady progress, however, there’s still a lot that needs to be done.
“We obviously looking forward to the board in the next 12 months improving their productivity they are laying the foundation and framework for the future but with rolling blackouts crisis that we have they need to speed things up so I would say the Eskom board had done steady progress over the past 12 months and the nation must proud of them but they have to do much more.”
Eskom says the board took over the reins when the energy availability factor was hugely impacted. It says this was due to units at Kusile Power Station being out of service. While at Koeberg Nuclear power station, there was going to be a replacement of steam. The power utility says its performance is on the right path.
Eskom Spokesperson, Daphne Mokwena says the power utility is confident that they will reduce rolling blackouts to Stage 4 over the summer period.
“We are confident that with all the work we have done and we are busy doing we are aiming to implement lower stages during the summer period and not to exceed stage 4. We also showed our performance in the past winter which was better than anticipated amid the 3 Kusile units and the one unit at Koberg being offline, the return to service of the units that were on long term outages being brought forward as well and together with the refurbishment projects at Majuba, Kriel, and Thuthuka Power Stations further going to improve our energy availability factor.”
The power utility says the units at the Kusile Power Station will be returned to service earlier than anticipated.