Eskom, South Africa’s embattled power utility, is working to actively avoid having to implement load shedding during the upcoming municipal elections, according to CEO André de Ruyter.
During an interview with eNCA Wednesday morning, De Ruyter said that Eskom was focusing on repairs ahead of the elections.
Last week Thursday, the utility was forced to implement stage 2 load shedding across South Africa after experiencing conveyor belt failures and boiler tube leaks at its Tutuka power station.
Following this, Eskom saw breakdowns at the Kusile, Komati and Hendrina power stations, pushing load shedding up until Thursday 14 October.
During the interview, De Ruyter told eNCA that Eskom’s “…current planning is that we will lift load shedding by tomorrow morning, and that should enable us to go into election season – very important from a democratic process perspective – without any load shedding going forward.”
“We are planning very carefully to do everything in our power to ensure there is no load shedding during elections,” De Ruyter said. These efforts reportedly include Eskom bolsterings its reserves and repairing already-known flaws to minimise the chance of load shedding on election day 1 November, which has been declared a public holiday by President Cyril Ramaphosa so that voters can reach the booths.
Breakdowns at Eskom
According to De Ruyter, Eskom’s recent generation failures were linked to an explosion at the Medupi power station, a fire at the Kendal power station and the belt failures at Tutuka. He said that once the Tutuka repairs were complete, Eskom would be able to meet power demands.
Currently, Eskom is seeing a shortage of generation capacity of between 4000MW to 5000MW which, together with the breakdown-susceptible ailing technology in its systems, makes SA’s power grid incredibly unstable. De Ruyter chimes that “Once we have that capacity added to the grid, we see that there will be a significant improvement in the stability of power generation.”
By Luis Monzon
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