Eskom will work to restore network stability by end of March – Ramaphosa  

Eskom’s management has given assurance that ‘they are trying to stabilise the system’, Ramaphosa says.
Heavy rains across parts of South Africa caused flooding, leading to evacuations and aggravating problems at the cash-strapped and debt-laden Eskom. Image: Waldo Swiegers, Bloomberg

South Africa’s state utility Eskom will work to stabilise the national power grid by the end of March in the wake of the country’s most severe blackouts in a decade, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.

A week of heavy rains across parts of South Africa has caused flooding, leading to evacuations and aggravating problems at the cash-strapped and indebted power company, which has been struggling to keep the lights on since 2008.

Ramaphosa, who cut short a state visit to Egypt as the power crisis deepened, met with Eskom’s management and board on Wednesday as mines forced to halt operations earlier in the week reopened.

Read: Power crisis eases after Eskom rushes to fix plants

“Management has given us an assurance that they are trying to stabilise the system,” he told a press briefing following the meeting.

“Going right through March, they will be seeking to do everything they can to restore the stability of the network,” he said without giving details on how Eskom plans to achieve this.

He added that public enterprises and energy ministers would bring proposals before cabinet on Friday aimed at closing South Africa’s energy gap.

Potential sabotage at Eskom power stations was responsible for 2 000 megawatts (MW) of lost capacity and needed to be investigated, he said.

Eskom earlier announced it planned to reduce national grid supplies by 2 000 MW on Wednesday, down from a 6 000 MW reduction on Monday. But the company added that the probability for continued loadshedding, or planned rolling blackouts, “remained high for the rest of the week”.

‘Perfect storm’

Chief Operations Officer Jan Oberholzer told Reuters the power cuts earlier in the week were caused by a “perfect storm” of extreme rainfall and breakdowns at coal-fired power plants. One coal mine and three power stations had flooded, he said.

Breakdowns were occurring across Eskom’s coal-fired plants because previous managers had not done critical mid-life maintenance, he added.

The breakdowns were likely to persist as Eskom has neither the spare generating capacity nor the money to take all of the faulty coal units off-line and overhaul them, Oberholzer said.

The power cuts, which have disrupted the supply of electricity to businesses and households across South Africa, dealt a further blow to an economy already teetering on the brink of recession.

In the short run, a combination of drier weather and work places shutting down for Christmas will cool demand for power, relieving pressure on the grid, said Azar Jammine, director of South Africa-based consultancy Econometrix.

But he added: “It has created a lot of uncertainty over whether we can rely on energy security in South Africa, and that in itself is going to damage economic growth.”

South Africa’s struggling state-owned companies have been a major headache for Ramaphosa who came to power nearly two years ago vowing to reverse years of mismanagement and economic stagnation.

On Monday, he vowed to take “drastic” steps if necessary to ensure their survival.

South African Airways was placed in bankruptcy protection last week and an independent administrator was appointed to run the state’s passenger rail company on Monday.

But loss-making Eskom, which generates more than 90% of the country’s power, is the “most serious risk” to the economy, the Treasury says. This is largely because of its R500 billion of debt, mostly government-backed.

Credit rating agency Moody’s has said Eskom’s troubles endanger South Africa’s only surviving investment-grade rating.

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I don’t know why they waste their time. Same people meeting the same management team that can not run ESKOM to begin with to get a way forward. It will never work. CR thinks he has found the solution. The solution in political terms is to tell everybody whet they want to hear.

Only way to fix it.

Fire the board and top/middle management to start with and replace with around 100 Germans and 100 Japanese. Let them run it and keep all politicians away from them. They will fix it in 6 months and the bloated workforce will be something of the past.

THESE PEOPLE HAVE NO CLUE WHAT THEY ARE DOING and I am afraid our leader might have been taken for a ride if he thinks he has a way forward.

CR pray tell us what you did heading up the “war room” 7 years ago?

how can we believe you now? This situation is worse than before.

Why will no reporter come out in a press conference and ask him this outright.

SA reporters are so scared to step on his tows it is laughable.

they played Minecraft….he certainly sounds clueless explaining…sabotaging state assets = terrorism

So if they are so severely “constrained” how can they export? How could they have signed contracts 2 weeks ago to export power.

W are constrained.

Does this make sense to anyone? Keep in mind we will run diesel generators to do that.

There is no brains here man. Nothing.

Promises, promises, promises.

These words are at best just repeated hopes and dreams.

Who believes CR. In any event by then we will be officially junk.

So no leave for staff. What will that help? No difference if they are there or not.

Now we talking sabotage? Really. Like poisoning, Zuma, Mabuza and now sabotage. Will the culprit if ever found be tried, drawn and quartered for high treason.Looking at the bigger picture Eskom was sabotaged by the ANC long ago. Refusal to allow IPP builds, over loading the system, abuse of the machinery, no maintenance, two power stations that are incorrectly designed the list goes on. You also sabotaged SAA, Denel etc.

Cyril you are stooping very low now, the last of your credibility is gone. Sorry you will need to spin us another one.

“…by the end of March”.

…..of WHICH YEAR then?

Pres CR is quoted on Fin24 that there is a measure of sabotage in the blackouts.

Yes and his own party is responsible for this sabotage. It is the State Capture faction who is responsible for the burning of the trains, trucks and libraries. Who flames the xenofobia and causes general destabilization.

One should not ‘restore’ network stability, one should ‘maintain’ network stability. And one should work right through the year. Not from now until the end off March.

Hahaha, the irony of an operational institution that is already about 30% overstaffed, giving up their leave to do less at work, and to probably earn more in overtime!!! ANC , this governance thing is on a much, much bigger scale than being the Chiefs of a subsistence and livestock farming community, therefore way out of your league!! Have some honour and dignity to recognize this and walk away so that SA may be saved!!

Not 30% bro more like 66% overstaffed if you hear what Ted Blom had to say on a recent Jakaranda Radio interview

What I’d like to know is not just the overstaffing on Eskom’s books (as in people at each power station) but the number of people assigned to Ops from Roshcon / Rotek (the Eskom subsidiary companies) AND there are also a lot of ‘contracting’ companies that have Ops staff working at the power stations. I’m sure the overstaffing stats that are bandied about do not include these ‘extra’ people.

Yes by March ne !! 2037 ne??

Frankly, the ANC should be put on permanent leave

HA HA HA, the drivel that comes out his mouth.
Kudos to Sikonathi for saying he should have stayed in Egypt.
Private power generation, now let me see is that the P word you see on my forehead , who would trust these gangsters to pay for the power sold back into their grid ? Not this old fart
Ted blom reckons Eskom has 47,000 employees and only needs 14,000 and those 47,000 only work like 4,000 normally motivated human beings
SA IS GANGSTER’S PARADISE

The ANC owe Zimbabwe because they gave the ANC a safe place during apartheid when the ANC was banned.

Anyone else heard about or have news on the oil-spiking?

Yes I have heard about it.

No wonder they forever have boiler pipes leaking.

Meaning what? They are trying to increase the CV of poor coal by adding oil?

yes..fake news or the truth?

Search on the internet and you will find our Mr. Gigaba already in 2013 in the news supporting BBBEE in this regard. Did not just want the large players in the market.

Zimbabwe owes SAA a lot of money. How are they going to pay for electricity? With bananas?

Could work as a currency between two banana republics.

Oh only March?
No problem then.
Onwards with the revolution, comrades!

Sabotage or incompetence…?

It’s 1 in the same thing. Brought to you courtesy of the ANC!

If you cancel leave at such short notice it is obvious that Eskom are in crisis and will undoubtedly be called upon to compensate staff members for their cancelled holiday at substantial cost to the entity – which will be passed on to the consumer. Seems the ANC have learnt nothing since 2005/6 when we had a similar crisis – the only thing that has changed is the president of the organization

…agree absolutely.

Small correction though: not “passed on the the consumer” as much. Passed on to the SA TAXPAYER….because Eskom will be bailed out yet again.

Staggering level of cumulative incometance.

Usual promises. Usual response. Usual “high level” meeting. Then NOTHING HAPPENS other than continued blackouts.
The third world should never have been allowed anywhere near a first world engineering business. Ditto PRASA, ditto ……

CR wants the world to believe load shedding is an an act of Sabotage..Another day another story..Wow great does that mean no more load shedding? It’s never the ANC’s fault! Sabotage is nothing else but terrorism..I hope the culprits are arrested ..Was he referring to the Gupta’s or not? Well arrest them Squirrel, arrest them! Lies lies and more lies..The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Bottom line, the ANC cannot govern ,full stop

A federal system is one small possibility of a viable future. DA in western Cape must get international funding for its own independent solar and wind power supply followed by water treatment and desalination plants. Anc will likely cut off funding to the wc but so what? Central government is a broken shell.

End of comments.

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