Ramokgopa lauds interventions at Kusile Power station

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Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has lauded interventions at the Kusile Power station for contributing to the improvement in the generation of electricity.

This comes as Eskom’s energy availability factor (EAF) has now breached the 70% mark for the first time in years and is currently standing at 70.78%.

The minister gave a briefing at the Kusile power station in Mpumalanga. He says the last time the country experienced such high improvements in the EAF was in the year 2021.

South Africa has seen 47 days without rolling blackouts – and the Minister attributes this to a consistent performance by Eskom Power Stations.

Mooted in 2022, the Energy Action Plan identified six priority power stations that were contributing 75% to the outages, one of them Kusile in Emalahleni. The station has since stabilised with units back online and the energy availability of over 90%.

“Just Kusile today is trending at an energy availability factor of just shy of 93%. So that’s an exceptional achievement for this team. We have been deliberate on how to quickly return these three units 1, 2 and 3 – and as a result, returning them early as per plan. We’ve gotten the benefit of an additional 2 400 MW and those are contributing to the resolution of this problem,” says Ramokgopa.

This has boosted the country’s overall energy availability, in what has been described as a step in the right direction.

“All of these efforts are orchestrated, there is nothing sudden about what you are seeing today. In fact, the picture looks even exceptionally better, what is it? I am happy to say to the country, as I stand before you today the Energy Availability Factor of Eskom has breached the 70% mark, we are at 70,78% which is significant, the last time we achieved this was in August 2021. Thank you to the men and women of Eskom,” Ramokgopa adds.

Burning of diesel

The Minister has also taken some time to dismiss reports of the heightened burning of diesel through the Open Cycle Gas Turbine. He challenges assertions that load shedding will be ramped up post-May 29th elections.

“So you can see in rand value terms the 5th of May didn’t burn, 6th of May 23 million, 11.9 million, 10th of May we didn’t burn, 11th of May didn’t burn, yesterday we didn’t burn so this you can see that the story is not correct, the story is not true so it’s just the naysayers exceptionally uncomfortable with the fact that the country is making the kind of progress that it’s making,” Ramokgopa explains.

Eskom says it continues with its focus on priority stations. And it’s confident that the efforts will eventually bring load shedding to an end.

“If you look at Kusile, you look at Medupi, you look at Matla, you look at Majuba these stations were problematic but are actually now delivering which bodes well and in the last 2 months we got a new PGSM at Kendal and we are already starting to see early positive signs at Kendal and I am very hopeful with Thuthuka,” Ramokgopa elaborates.

May is the energy-saving month with consumers reminded to use electricity sparingly. Eskom plans to intensify its work with municipalities.

The Minister will in the coming weeks go back to the power stations across the country on a progress update, confident that like Kusile the five remaining priority stations will soon start producing the anticipated results all the efforts pointing to the end of load shedding which he maintains is well within reach.

Video: Energy Crisis – Eskom’s energy availability factor breaches 70% mark: Eric Shunmagum