SA looks to Zuma to shed light on Eskom crisis

2015-02-08 12:00

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Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma is under the spotlight this week as South Africa will look to him to shed light on ending the power crisis that has once again rocked the country, reports the Sunday Independent.

According to the newspaper, it is hoped that Zuma will unveil a rescue plan - when he delivers his State of the Nation address on Thursday - on the issue of continued rolling blackouts after experts and analysts warned of the far-reaching consequences of this to the economy.

It was reported that the power crisis featured prominently at an ANC national executive committee and cabinet makgotla last week where those attending the ANC lekgotla were instructed to prioritise projects that could boost supply of electricity to the national grid over the next two years.

The ANC also reportedly urged cabinet to accelerate the nuclear energy programme.

Unplanned power outages

South Africa was once again plunged into darkness last week when Eskom’s unplanned power outages on Thursday kicked in, reported Fin24 at the time.

This outage could be roughly equated to a loss of two Medupis from the grid, an industry expert said.

Eskom ran into a severe shortage of generation capacity on Thursday as several of its power stations suffered unplanned outages.

In its system status bulletin the utility said unplanned outages were due to technical faults. Earlier, spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe told Fin24 that 27 power stations out of its fleet of 87 units were not working optimally.

“It’s almost all our power stations [that] are experiencing all sorts of problems at this stage," he said.

Two Medupis

For Thursday evening’s peak demand Eskom had an available capacity of 28 079MW including the use of open gas cycle turbines. Demand was forecast at 30 850MW leaving a deficit of 2771MW.

Eskom’s planned maintenance made provision to take 5 043MW off the power grid. This is roughly the equivalent of the amount of power that the planned Medupi power plant will push into the grid.

However unplanned outages from faulty power stations on Thursday stood at 10 424MW, the equivalent of roughly two Medupis.

An industry expert, who does not have permission to speak to the media, said Eskom is in deep trouble and that “even the first two units of Medupi and one from Kusile cannot help the scale of Eskom’s power troubles at the moment”.

Read more on:    eskom  |  jacob zuma  |  electricity  |  state of the nation 2015  |  parliament 2015

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