Home Business Ramokgopa Reports Improvements at Eskom Amid Continuing Load Shedding

Ramokgopa Reports Improvements at Eskom Amid Continuing Load Shedding

by Central News Reporter
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Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa

Johannesburg – Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, the Minister in the Presidency for Electricity, announced on Monday that, while South Africa continues to grapple with load shedding, there have been discernible improvements in the performance of the national power utility, Eskom.

During a press briefing on the steps being taken to implement the National Energy Action Plan, Ramokgopa highlighted positive developments. “It is important that in the midst of momentary setbacks, when you go to Stage 4 and occasionally go to Stage 6 [load shedding], we don’t lose sight of essentially what is the trendline,” stated Ramokgopa.

According to the Minister, the Unplanned Capacity Loss Factor (UCLF) illustrates an encouraging trend in recovery of lost power. “When we entered May [2023]… the amount of megawatts that were lost as a result of [UCLF] was averaging 17 369MW. The trendline has been going down and the best performance… was during the month of December, where we had about 13 473MW. Essentially, we retrieved about 4 000 additional megawatts. For the month of February, we have been able to claw back about 3 000MW,” he explained.

The continuation of load shedding, despite these improvements, prompted Ramokgopa to clarify the strategy behind it. “We use that improvement in the UCLF, as we are taking units out on planned maintenance. We are using that opportunity for us to ramp up planned maintenance. As these units return, you will be able to see a completely different picture of the… intensity of load shedding and also the frequency of load shedding,” he said.

Eskom’s planned maintenance has seen a significant increase since May 2023, with efforts heightened from approximately 3 120MW to about 7 307MW by February.

The Minister asked for the public’s patience as long-term solutions to load shedding are put in place. “If we had not ramped up that planned maintenance… or reduced it from the current levels by anything between 25% and 50%, we would have completely eradicated load shedding at least between those periods. It’s important that we play that long-term game… The outside experts have told us to… focus on planned maintenance. And it is for this reason that Eskom has gone to National Treasury and said ‘we need additional fiscal relief’. Eskom has deployed a significant amount of that money on planned maintenance. The units will return. They will return healthier and they will be able to perform,” Ramokgopa shared.

He cautioned against shunning planned maintenance, citing that it would be a short-sighted measure with dire repercussions. Ramokgopa warned, “We could go on the short-term intervention expedient, [and] reduce this maintenance by up to 50%. But we guarantee you that there will be deterioration of these assets and then in three months, there’ll be total collapse, significant failures and we are going to find it very difficult to recover these units.”

In conclusion, Dr Ramokgopa expressed optimism about the future, stating, “We are confident about the prospects going into the future and those prospects are about reducing the intensity of load shedding, addressing the regularity of load shedding in keeping with that mandate given by the President.”

Eskom Loadshedding
Eskom Loadshedding

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