Johannesburg - Eskom has reiterated its call to South Africans to sparingly use electricity as loadshedding remains on the cards due to on-going constraints on the power grid.
On Thursday, the power utility held a quarterly “state of system” update where it looked at the performance of the organisation and plans to ensure effective maintenance and building of its capacity.
Eskom chief operations officer Jan Oberholzer said significant changes in terms of reliability would only be expected from around the winter period next year.
“Up until then, the risk of loadshedding remains and I would like to emphasize this point. Up until we have the opportunity to do adequate reliability maintenance and do midlife refurbishments, the risk of loadshedding remains.”
Oberholzer said Eskom's management was hard at work to effect maintenance which had not been conducted over the last 10 years as the old units had to be brought back to a reliable state.
“At the beginning of the year, we started at about 300MW of planned maintenance. We have stepped it up and we are now just below 600MW, and if you look at the percentage, out of 100% we have moved up from 8% to 10% of maintenance,” he said.
Eskom imposed power cuts during the lockdown in July, August and September, and the power utility blamed it on the on-going pressure on the grid.
Oberholzer said Eskom’s management would continue to put more effort into the on-going design modifications at Medupi and Kusile power stations, which he said were their major hope for a more reliable power supply going forward.
“When we solve the latent defects and design issues that we have at the new power stations, and when those two power stations reach the close to 10 000MhW performance, which is the way we want it and the way that the investor wanted, we will move quite a way towards this phase of getting out of loadshedding,” he said.
Eskom chief executive André de Ruyter meanwhile said the utility would continue taking tough action against municipalities that ignored their debts, which he said were more R31 billion.
“That leaves us with no option but to take assertive steps to arrest the further accumulation of additional debt, but also to recover this debt. It gives us no pleasure, but we have no option but to accelerate this debtl-recovery process by the attachment of bank accounts and seizure of assets belonging to these defaulting municipalities under a court order,” De Ruyter said.