Cape Town – South Africans could be living without load shedding this winter, if acting Eskom CEO Brian Molefe gets his way.
Speaking at the launch of the Transnet Development Hub on Friday, Molefe said planned maintenance was mostly completed and so the utility was able to generate more power to meet the increased demand.
"[There will be] no planned load shedding this winter," he said, according to an Eskom tweet.
“Limited maintenance will be done during this period as most work was done in summer,” he said.
Winter officially starts on June 1, this coming Monday.
The country’s economy has been hammered by seven months of power cuts, reflected by snail pace GDP growth in the first quarter of 2015 of 1.3% year-on-year.
A silo collapse at one of the country’s youngest power plants (Majuba), delays in Eskom’s build programme (Medupi and Kusile) and an intense maintenance programme (including work on Koeberg) resulted in a shortage of power supply to meet the country’s demand.
With Koeberg’s unit 1 coming back online on Saturday or Sunday and Medupi’s unit 6 starting to generate its full capacity, Eskom is confident that it will be able to carry out its mandate to supply electricity to all South Africans.
“Koeberg unit 1 will be returned back to service this weekend after a three-month planned shutdown for refuelling,” Molefe said.
“Medupi unit 6 reached an 800MW milestone this week, helping to stabilise the power grid and avoiding load shedding yesterday [on Thursday],” Eskom tweeted. “Tests continue.”
Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe told Fin24 on Friday that Eskom’s mandate was not to load shed, but to provide reliable electricity to the country. “We don’t go out of our way to do load shedding,” he said.
“The chances of load shedding this weekend are not high,” he added.