Eskom seeks to shed the blackout shadow

Eskom CEO, Brian Molefe.

Eskom’s CEO, Brian Molefe seemed relaxed and confident at the quarterly “State of the System Briefing” at parliament yesterday as he assured the nation that Eskom is back in control of the system, rather than the other way around. He affirms that there will be no load shedding until at least February 2017, and even went on to expand on the company’s plans to be able to export energy within the next decade.

Molefe proudly states that in the next five years the capacity expansion programme will increase Eskom’s generation capacity by 17, 384MW, transmission lines by 9, 756km and substation capacity by 42, 470MVA.

“Eskom is stabilised and we do not anticipate load shedding,” says Molefe smiling, while he says it is a message that South Africa desperately needs to convey to investors and the business community as a whole.

“To date we have not implemented load shedding in nine months, except for 2 hours and 20 minutes and we will continue with the planned maintenance and will remain focused on delivering on our capital expansion plan,” he adds.

In terms of their existing strategy, Eskom’s aim is to achieve 80% plant availability, with a margin for 10% planned and 10% unplanned maintenance.

He demonstrated the utility’s “Tetris Maintenance Plan,” developed by “the smart young things” in the organisation, where the company can maximise on its maintenance plan, while sustaining a suitable buffer to prevent loadshedding and encompasses the following criteria:

  • Summer maintenance allowance 11, 500MW
  • Winter maintenance allowance 8, 500MW
  • Maximum OCGT (Open Cycle Gas Turbine) load factor of 6%

Molefe urges South Africans to continue to use electricity sparingly at all times.

“This will enable us to provide security of electricity supply to South African homes and businesses, powering economic expansion and extending to millions of households,” concludes Molefe.