Eskom, which supplies almost all of South Africa’s power, said it’s undertaking long-overdue repairs at its facilities amid a high risk of nationwide outages, and it expects supply to improve later this year.
The debt-stricken state utility has implemented load shedding on 19 days so far this year after record blackouts in 2020. That followed years of underinvestment in new capacity and a failure to maintain its plants, a number of which are past or approaching their retirement date — problems CEO André de Ruyter has been trying to rectify.
“We will continue to take units off and maintain them properly,” chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer said in a presentation on Monday. “The power system remains vulnerable and volatile, with the risk of load shedding significantly reduced after the completion of the reliability maintenance by September 2021.”
There were 1 798GWh of power cuts last year, even as new capacity became operational from coal, wind and solar sources, according to a report by the CSIR.
Eskom reported some improvement as it fixed defects in its newest units at Medupi and Kusile. It’s also had 4 190 employees and contractors test positive for the coronavirus, with 104 fatal cases. — Reported by Paul Burkhardt, (c) 2021 Bloomberg LP