Load shedding set to become part of everyday life

By Drum Digital
15 January 2015

CEO of Eskom Tshediso Matona addressed media this afternoon about the country's current state of electricity supply.

The CEO of Eskom Tshediso Matona says that load shedding will no longer be a "question of whether it will be part of the average South African's life but a matter of how will they cope with it."

This afternoon Matona, who has been CEO of the country's electricity supplier for the past three and a half months, addressed the media about the country's current state of electricity.

Matona made reference to Eskom's transparency and how the briefing was a continuation of the parastatal's commitment to uphold this value.

Matona constantly referred to Eskom as a car that has lacked the proper services and had thus failed to perform.

"It all comes down to maintenance and we have all but exhausted all our reserves. We are living on the edge," said Matona.

The lack of general maintenance is one of reasons the country has experienced continued periods of load shedding.

"Maintenance is the religion of the company but Eskom has not remained faithful to that for a very long time because we have kept deferring maintenance" Matona said.

"The unreliability of our equipment means that the threat of a breakdown is an ever-present reality," he added.

Maintenance was not the only issue that has put the country's electricity power grid under pressure, it has also been finances.

"In order to reduce the use of reserves, we used diesel and it was supposed to be for a short period of time but because of constraints, more diesel had to be used and that has put our financial health under stress," said Matona.

Before the briefing began, the CEO alluded to a meeting with the country's deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa about a R3-billion bailout which he still believes to be on the table.

"The power system will be severely constrained over time so the government is undertaking projects to help Eskom. We cannot get ourselves out of this, we need the help of government."

The CEO is also unsure of how long Eskom will get on the right track.

"The problem has accumulated over long periods of time and the solution will not come overnight. It might take years for the solution to come about," says the CEO.

Matona could not give a specific time as to when load shedding would come to an end but viewed it as a necessary short time solution to secure the long-term supply of the country's electricity needs.

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