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Load shedding: Brace yourself for more

South Africa faces increased outages due to Eskom maintenance
Coal delivery trucks queue outside the Eskom Kusile coal-fired power station in Mpumalanga. Image: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

South Africa faces an increased risk of power outages because maintenance needs to be carried out at deteriorating coal-fired power stations, the state energy utility said.

The availability of electricity from Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.’s plants was lower overall this year than the previous financial year and the current performance is below target, Group Chief Operating Officer Jan Oberholzer said in a presentation on Monday. The utility, which provides most of South Africa’s power, expected earlier this year to show an improvement in generation from September.

“However painful in the short term, this maintenance we have to do in order to ensure future reliability,” Oberholzer said.

Eskom’s poorly maintained coal-fired plants are an average of 42 years old, with the exception of its two newest facilities that are under performing and riddled with defects. Recent unplanned breakdowns have resulted in ongoing power outages and the increased use of diesel-burning turbines.

That requires spending money that indebted Eskom doesn’t have, Oberholzer said. Maintenance efforts to improve reliability will continue, while as much as 6 000 megawatts is needed to properly meet demand, he said.

The utility over a longer term is planning a R400 billion transition from reliance on coal power to low-carbon technologies. In the meantime, a government program to quickly add capacity from private developers has been delayed by court challenges.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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“The tragedy of Africa is that Africans are in the business of canonizing thieves and demonizing its saints…. Third World is a state of the mind and until we change our attitude as Africans, if there is a fourth, fifth and even sixth world, we will be in it.” – prof. PLO Lumumba, Kenyan lawyer

What is new? who cares?

No one, thats why nothing will change

They (Eskom) said they would keep things running between the last round of load shedding, and the local govt. elections. All they had to do was keep it together for less than 10 days, and they couldn’t even do that

I love how Oberholzer uses the word short-term. 3 years ago this fool said load shedding will be with us still for 2 years. Thats come and gone. You cant believe the drivel he comes up with.

Electioneering. Switch off , switch on. Wow look at us we fixed it for you the voter.

The negative comments are understood (load shedding irks me too), but I feel like Eskom is finally being – or at least trying to be more prudent around what they need.

De Reuter accepted a near impossible situation and he’s made some progress imo… I really think we’d be way worse off without him!

But, … but, … past president Zuma promised us all that load shedding is a thing of the past, that we would not again, ever, have load shedding. He said it. He did.

End of comments.

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