Eskom struggling with power supply

2012-01-30 12:57

Eskom is struggling to maintain a balance between a steady power supply and a growing need to maintain old power stations, the parastatal has said.

“Most power stations are in mid-life and require increased maintenance; however, maintenance has been continually shifted in order to ensure we meet demands,” Eskom chief executive Brian Dames told reporters in Johannesburg.

“The strategy of shifting maintenance outages can no longer be sustained.”

Dames was speaking at Eskom’s first quarterly update for the year. He said the updates were part of an initiative to be “fully transparent” and proactive in communicating the state of the country’s power system.

“It is like a drought, and everyone is trying to find a way to save water,” Dames said.

“There is a similar situation in South Africa. Here, electricity is the oxygen of the economy ... the oxygen of the media. We all need a stable power system.”

He said Eskom was using cycle gas turbines and other methods to maintain the balance between supply and demand during maintenance.

“We do not want to go back to load-shedding, but we cannot do this alone. We need to save 10% of our current energy demand and remove 3 000 megawatts from our demand to ensure that the power system can operate in a stable mode.”

Dames said Eskom had different methods of achieving its goal, such as introducing a voluntary energy conservation scheme to 250 of its top customers, and the 49M initiative, which aims to encourage South Africa’s 49 million people to save electricity.

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