Eskom reduced unplanned plant failure by more than half over Easter, says COO

Eskom’s teams worked through the Easter weekend to reduce the amount of unplanned plant failures by more than half, Eskom Chief Operating Officer Jan Oberholzer said in a statement released on Monday.

Unplanned plant failures are a common factor in instances where Eskom announces load shedding on short notice.

Eskom executives, along with Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan, recently briefed the country on the status of load shedding, saying it would keep load shedding at stage one over the next few months, should it occur.

In Monday's statement, Oberholzer said Eskom teams conducted daily planned maintenance in excess of 7 000MW over the Easter weekend, along with improvements at a number of stations.

"Their concerted effort and hard work has shifted Generation’s performance into a more favourable position. Unplanned plant failures, which at times reached over 12 000 MW, dropped to as low as 5 260MW over the Easter weekend," Oberholzer said.

Oberholzer said Eskom saw improvement in plant performance and the recovery of diesel tank levels at the open-cycle gas turbines. He said Eskom also saw better management of dam levels at pumped-storage schemes. 

"As we continue to perform essential plant maintenance, while carefully balancing the country’s energy requirements with the available capacity, the risk that we may implement load shedding over the next six to 12 months remains. However, this will only be done as a last resort," Oberholzer said.

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe told Fin24 that the national grid’s status remained the same since Eskom briefed the country on load shedding earlier in April. This meant the risk was fairly low in the immediate future.

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