Eskom to close down power stations - TechCentral

Eskom to close down power stations

Eskom’s Camden power station in Mpumalanga

Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe on Tuesday confirmed that the power utility will expedite plans to close four power stations in order to accommodate renewable independent power producers (IPPs).

The stations are the 3GW Kriel, 1GW Komati, 2GW Hendrina and the 1,6GW Camden power stations, all in Mpumalanga.

Phasiwe says two of Komati’s six units have in fact already been closed and its other units as well as the other three stations will be closed down gradually as renewable IPPs connect to the grid.

Phasiwe says the decision to close the power stations was taken by Eskom management last year and the idea was to first communicate it to stakeholders before making a public announcement.

Eskom’s plan was, however, overtaken by events last week when coal truck drivers publicly protested the phasing out of Eskom’s coal transport contracts in accordance with the closure of the power stations.

Some of the power station units were earlier kept on “idle mode” and only ramped up if supply from renewable IPPs dipped. That, however, resulted in a reduction in revenue from the stations, while overheads remain unchanged.

Eskom’s efforts to renegotiate the IPP contracts were overruled by government and the utility has no choice but to close down the stations as economic growth and electricity demand remains flat, Phasiwe said.

Phasiwe said Eskom will in due course announce more detailed timelines for the power station closures. There are “a lot of moving variables”, he said.

He did disclose that Hendrina will be closed by December next year, when the controversial coal supply contract with Gupta-owned company Tegeta comes to an end.

Eskom has started issuing budget quotes to renewable IPPs and will connect the projects to the grid at the tariffs agreed with the department of energy, he said.

The Hendrina power station

Trade union federation Cosatu has called Eskom arrogant for “unilaterally” deciding to close the power stations. Cosatu said it will meet Eskom and government on the issue and mobilise workers to oppose the move.

“If we have surplus electricity then we must cancel nuclear, reduce prices, export more to Africa and invest in building electric cars,” Cosatu said in a statement.

“We agree with the [National Union of Mineworkers] that South Africa’s climate change obligations to introduce renewable energy into the electricity grid should not result in backdoor privatisation and further commercialisation of Eskom.”

Cosatu demanded that Eskom and government suspend their plan to shut down down the power stations “until a just transition-solution is arrived at by all affected stakeholders”.

  • This article was first published on Moneyweb and is used here with permission

8 Comments

  1. CharlieTango on

    Once again Eskom is telling half truths. Power demand is flat because Eskom screwed the big energy users with all the blackouts, which subsequently led to closures and reduced demand. Now they try and shift the blame by pointing the finger at the IPPs.

  2. This side of X. on

    The lights are definitely not on at Eskom HQ.
    This has got to be the most stupid management decision in the history of the world, how about lowering the price of electricity for the South African tax payer, or selling the power stations to the highest bidder.
    The real truth is that the power stations are old and not properly serviced, they are basically a mess. However they are still operating, they can be serviced, restored, and modernized with the correct management they may still have many years of service in them.
    Ah….well, maybe it has nothing to do with the probable possibilities that may or may not beeeee. Maybe the underlying situation is that foreign investors have burnt their fingers one time to many when it comes to doing business with the ANC-Zumpta Incorporated.

  3. Benjamoon Frankly on

    Power demand isn’t ‘flat’. When you hike the cost of electricity for the end-consumer, the latter has no choice but to contain consumption. Basic Maths and Logic. Living rural, albeit a stone’s throw from an Eskom substation, I pay nearly R800 before drawing 1kw of power. Modest monthly single-user household consumption results in a bill well over R1,000pm. Exorbitant.

    Exorbitant Cost = Lower Usage = Growth Throttled [esp. entrepreneurship, small-scale farming, manufacturing, production etc]

    This is the Globalist recipe that paves the way for international conglomerates to effect monopolies world-wide. Can Eskom / Government tell us what will happen when the IPP’s fail, be it by accident or design? What then? The whole sale privatisation of Eskom? Substituting power stations with IPP’s places a private sector noose around the neck of the public utility – at the expense of the end consumer who cannot ‘negotiate’ special rates as only the large conglomerates can – and do.

  4. Benjamoon Frankly on

    Worth noting, too, of course is that foreign and local service providers – in cahoots with their BBEEE partners – have been defrauding Eskom of millions and millions and millions this past decade. And that’s a fact. That fraud alone can be held to account for the increased cost of electricity to the SA citizenry. In essence, monies stolen from the public purse. And nothing, but nothing, gets done to those perpetrating the fraud. And so they continue…

  5. Kleinfontein on

    i dont understand. why not keep them alive and sell excess capacity to neighboring countries?

  6. TheBoss ™© on

    Solar & Wind Surplus in Sweden, Germany and even South America.. has led to people being even PAID to use Electricity.
    It can only be beneficial to go off Power Stations.
    But yes.. this is Africa… and every Thief, Politician & White Collar is out to drill through every pocket of the ill-informed Public Joe & Jane

  7. It always has been my impression that we should never even have built Medupi and Kusile, instead we should have at that stage, about ten years ago chosen for renewables.
    And it makes it clear that there is hardly need for nuclear power, especially as it might turn out to be very expensive, and most likely riddled with massive corruption.