Eskom’s capacity on the edge

2014-06-06 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — As the country is gripped by an icy cold front, Eskom’s supply capacity is currently on the edge.

Even if the demand increases just a little bit, it might have to start with controlled load shedding, acting CEO Collin Matjila said at a media briefing yesterday.

“We hope to avoid that, but it is a reality. We are still short of capacity. We will continue with our power alerts, but we are confident that, with the public’s support and the measures we have taken, we could beat the peak this winter,” he said.

He appealed to people, especially in townships, not to redirect electricity as it is not only dangerous, but also puts additional constraints on Eskom’s supply.

Eskom’s call on all South Africans to save energy is now louder than ever as the system will remain tight, warned Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi. “These are interesting times for Eskom as it is experiencing both challenges and new opportunities.”

He said SA’s economy is slowing to a sluggish growth rate and the strike in the platinum sector is further contracting the economy.

At the same time, Eskom estimates that due to the platinum strike the load on Eskom’s grid is currently about 400 MW less.

“Our power system, however, remains severely constrained and will remain vulnerable,” Tsotsi said.

“As we celebrate World Environment Day, we can take simple actions to be smart about the use of energy at work and at home.”

He said the fact that Eskom could keep the lights on during the past summer season — except for one day in March — is due to all South Africans having worked together.

“Thanks to all our customers who helped us to reduce our load when it was needed. Nothing is impossible if we work together to keep the lights on, especially between 5 pm and 9 pm at night,” he said.

Eskom is still looking for a new CEO and according to Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, an appointment will be made as soon as possible.

Matjila said this winter is likely to be about the same as last winter.

“So, we are not expecting a severely cold winter, but winter is also a subjective issue, so we are taking measures to ensure we meet the demand which is usually greater in winter,” he said.

Matjila said attempts by some of South Africa’s neighbouring countries to reduce their 100% dependence on SA for electricity supply should also eventually reduce strain.

“We have been doing a lot of maintenance since the beginning of the year so we are confident that the grid will be able to meet the winter demand. We predict the load will be just below 36 Gigabytes,” he said.

Due to maintenance done prior to the winter months, Eskom now has an additional 1 000 MW available to help keep the lights on during the winter. — Fin24.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.