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Eskom desperate to stop load shedding says, board chairperson

Eskom board chairperson Malegapuru Makgoba

Eskom board chairperson Malegapuru Makgoba

Published Nov 18, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - Eskom board chairperson Malegapuru Makgoba said the power utility desperately wanted to reduce and bring load shedding to an end.

“It is not an impossible task but we are faced with plants that have been deteriorating over the past 15 years,” Makgoba said.

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He made the statement when responding to MPs who repeatedly asked in a meeting of the public enterprises portfolio committee, when the load shedding would end.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan noted that Eskom did not substantially improve the energy availability factor, which sat at about 65%.

“That is also part of the challenge,” he said.

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Eskom chief executive Andre de Ruyter said the solution to load shedding was to accelerate the immediate procurement of additional capacity of energy supply to a tune that was between 4 000 and 6 000 megawatts.

He also told MPs that Eskom was unable to buy electricity on its own accord, but the procurement process was driven by the Independent Power Producer (IPP) office that reports to the Department of Minerals and Resources.

“The IPP office drives the competitive bidding process in terms of windows awarded and presented to Eskom for approval by the board.”

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It all came as Eskom announced that Stage 2 load shedding would be implemented from 2pm on Wednesday until 5am on Saturday.

Eskom said this was due to the insufficient generation capacity and the loss of a unit each at Medupi, Duvha and Kendal power stations on Wednesday morning.

“This is to preserve the remaining emergency reserves at the OCGT and pump storage power stations in order to prevent higher stages of load shedding.”

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During a media briefing on Wednesday, De Ruyter also moved to reassure Cape Town residents of the safety of the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station in light of reports of skilled workers and experienced members of staff, many holding significant technical positions at Koeberg, leaving.

De Ruyter said it was not an issue of unhappiness among staff causing them to leave.

“It's a question of these workers being highly skilled and highly experienced, and they are very desirable in the global marketplace. We have had a number of predominantly Middle Eastern companies that have approached some of our operators, offering them packages three times Eskom packages.

“So it's got very little to do with levels of motivation, and a lot to do with the amount of money people can earn. We are dealing with that from an HR perspective to make sure we have adequate retention mechanisms in place.”

Cape Times

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