Eskom will impose load shedding on a continuous basis for at least the next two years. But the company has said it has a plan to end the power cuts within 24 months.
Eskom board chairman Mpho Makwana told a press conference on Sunday morning that the state-owned utility plans to implement load shedding at either stage 2 or stage 3 for the next 24 months while it works to end the energy-supply crisis.
Makwana said the new plan is aimed at improving Eskom’s so-called “energy availability factor” (EAF) from about 58% now to 65% by 31 March 2024 and 70% by 31 March 2025.
In the same press conference, outgoing Eskom CEO André de Ruyter said the EAF reached new lows in recent weeks, driven by the failure of multiple units at the Kusile power station and high levels of planned maintenance.
De Ruyter emphasised that the planned maintenance is “vital to restoring the integrity of our system”. This maintenance work will be reduced significantly during the winter months when demand increases.
However, supply will remain constrained for at least the rest of the year, De Ruyter said.
Makwana said Eskom is focusing on “key levers” to address the problems facing the utility. These are related to leadership, organisational culture and poor internal controls. Focus on fixing these areas will “lead this organisation back to a semblance of what it was when it was named global energy utility of the year in 2001”.
“Low-hanging fruit” includes focusing on the recovery of six power stations, including Kusile. These stations will be given the best talent, the best vendor support and adequate capital to get them back to peak performance. Eskom is working to provide incentives to the best-performing stations. Inculcating a high-performance culture will be key to turning Eskom around, Makwana said, without elaborating what the incentive scheme will look like.
“We fully comprehend we are in a burning platform… We appreciate South Africans want us to work harder and with greater urgency… We are fully au fait with the grim socioeconomic problems our country faces,” he said. – © 2023 NewsCentral Media