Eskom needs 3 000MW more to stop load shedding

TO prevent load shedding, Eskom needs to find an additional 3 000 Megawatts of power.

Appearing before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises on Wednesday to give an update on governance and operational challenges of Megawatt Park, Eskom’s newly appointed acting CEO, Brian Molefe, said: “We have a maintenance backlog due to commitments made to ‘keep the lights on’ and this has led to deteriorating power station availability and subsequent load shedding.“We need a minimum of 3 000 Megawatts and a maximum of 5 000 Megawatts buffer, either through supply-side or demand-side options in order to close the backlog within three to five years and avoid load shedding,” he said.

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Last week, Minister Lynne Brown apologised to the nation following losses in generating power that forced Eskom to implement stage three load shedding. Several units had to be taken out of service for unplanned maintenance caused by technical faults, the Minister said.

This led to 9 500 Megawatts being lost when units went off-line.

Eskom has a total installed capacity of 42 Megawatts, but on the demand side, the power utility was faced with a reality that it has to catch up on maintenance, Molefe said.

Molefe said Eskom was currently doing a financial assessment to see how much it would need to get the additional 3 000 Megawatts and whether it would raise the funds through a tariff increase or through borrowing.

During stage three load shedding, a typical family would not have electricity for 10 hours in a week, Molefe said.

He said Eskom was currently not in a bad financial position, having posted profits of R21 billion last year. “From a financial point of view, Eskom is not in a very bad position.

“On the cash position, Eskom has a substantial amount of facilities that have been negotiated. In addition, National Treasury has made a commitment to give Eskom R23 billion, which will be given to us in two [transactions] during this financial year.

“With that additional income from Treasury, we are not saying Eskom is about to be declared bankrupt. We will be engaging with rating agencies to find out what it is they would love to see for Eskom to be re-rated to a positive rating.” –

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