Editor’s Note: Eskom CEO plugged into pulse of power generation
Eskom chief executive Andre de Ruyter did an excellent job in his online presentation and interview with Chris Hattingh of the Free Market Foundation yesterday.
One of the most important aspects that was made clear was that providing an adequate supply of good quality electricity without interruption is far more complex than the average member of society realises.
He emphasised that for the economy to grow, electricity must flow all of the time. He recognised that load shedding was not desirable but that to get the entire system functional, bearing in mind the current maintenance backlog, it was necessary to cut supply at times.
De Ruyter said that if he could “wave a magic wand” he would like electricity reliability and availability fixed in record time.
But he acknowledged that company structural and financial problems also had to be made optimally functional. Some municipalities owed Eskom billions, and many structures were not ideal because municipalities used electricity sales as a means to gain income for themselves.
De Ruyter pointed out that it was desirable for individual households or companies to generate electricity.
But that just generating your own electricity from solar, for example, needed to be addressed since Eskom could not just act as everybody's battery for when the sun does not shine.
The technology of electricity flow also does not permit anyone to just insert power into the grid. This would cause uncontrollable instability.
He added that Koeberg nuclear power station played a very important role in providing stable, inexpensive electricity in a reliable fashion.
Overall, De Ruyter was upbeat about the future and felt that Eskom was being stabilised and its technological problems addressed.
Adri Senekal De Wet is Executive Editor of Business Report and Personal Finance