Eskom warns of another year of load shedding pain

Eskom chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer on a video call with journalists earlier this year

Government plans to end recurring power cuts could take at least a year to deliver results, a top executive at struggling utility Eskom said on Monday.

The economy is set for its worst year of electricity outages, despite President Cyril Ramaphosa pledging new moves to tackle the crisis in July.

State-owned Eskom implemented extensive power cuts last week and is scheduled to do so again this week.

“We have various plans in place, I believe very good plans. However, this is going to take time to implement,” chief operating pfficer Jan Oberholzer said. “For the next 12 months or so we may not see the required benefits.”

Oberholzer told a news briefing that the performance of Eskom’s fleet of ageing, unreliable coal-fired power stations continued to deteriorate. He said 42 generating units, or almost 24GW of capacity, tripped last week, with some units breaking down more than once.

Read: Eskom may need R1.2-trillion for move to renewables

Midway through its financial year, Eskom has spent R7.7-billion on diesel to run emergency generators, far in excess of the budgeted amount, Oberholzer added, calling it a serious concern.

“It’s really a difficult situation we find ourselves in,” he said.  — (c) 2022 Reuters

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