Outa has slammed power utility Eskom over the announcement that loadshedding will take place for the rest of the week, saying the company is not improving public confidence in the utility. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Town - Outa has slammed power utility Eskom over the announcement that loadshedding will take place for the rest of the week, saying the company is not improving public confidence in the utility.

“We cannot accept the constant overspending on new power stations and have Eskom fail to explain why they can’t keep them running,” said Heinrich Volmink, Outa’s Executive Director on Policy.

Outa said in a statement released on Wednesday that the "excuses of malfunctioning boilers and conveyer belts" will fall on deaf ears, as electricity tariffs continue to rise.

“Eskom’s slow pace of addressing the high costs of coal procurement and excessive manpower costs are a frustration to taxpayers, who have positioned Eskom as a burden that lacks the necessary expertise to keep the power on,” said Outa’s CEO Wayne Duvenage, 

Eskom has blamed the power constraints on a broken coal conveyor belt at the Medupi power station in Limpopo, which cut its power output by half.

Five electricity generating units have also been reported to be unavailable due to boiler tube leaks. 

Eskom also blamed outages on delays in the return to service of units that were on planned maintenance and said it is struggling with a limited diesel supply.

Members of Parliament have also expressed concern over the rotational power cuts implemented by Eskom as reports emerged that several matric exams centres were left in the dark.

The exams started on Wednesday and learners were meant to do their Computer Applications Technology (CAT) practicals.  

"The NSC examinations are normally a very stressful period for our young people. When something like this happens and the examination must be halted, only to be continued when the electricity supply is restored, it can add to more stress," said Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba, chairman of parliament's portfolio committee on basic education.  

She said MPs were encouraged by the basic education department's commitment to alert Eskom to the fact that loadshedding could impact national exams.

The department has stated that it has backup exams in place for pupils who could not finish their practicals.

IOL and African News Agency (ANA)