Eskom's Power Plays

Embattled power utility Eskom has in addition to calling for consumers to reduce their demand for power, will also reportedly be sponsoring on New Age Business Breakfast a month, to the tune of R 43 million. Eskom's Manager for Demand Management, Andrew Etzinger weighed in on the move with 702's John Robbie:

We need to get active communication and discourse going in the electricity industry. We no doubt have a number of players and there are many forums - the breakfasts are one of the forums - where we do support and get the feedback from industry to talk about the very serious issues. We do have a financial constraint but we do need to also support industry.

Eskom has meanwhile also requested consumers - both commercial and domestic users - to reduce load to about 10%. Etzinger unpacks reasons behind the call:

25% of our generation feeds are out of service as a result of technical problems. We have ageing power stations that have not been adequately maintained for a number of years now because of pressure on the grid and their performance is below par and unacceptable, which has lead to the situation where we have a very tight system between 6 to 8pm.

Stalled multi-billion rand power plants in Limpopo and Mpumalanga - Medupi and Kusile respectively - are said to be back on track and expected to be connected to the grid by mid-2015. Etzinger specifies:

With Medupi, we've got just over 50 days to the synchronisation of the first of the generators and connecting it to the grid. Within a couple of months, Medupi should be running. Kusile follows Medupi by about 18 months. Both stations should be up and running, fully commissioned by about 2020. The first of the generators should be connected to the grid by April to May next year.

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