Johannesburg - Eskom is struggling to maintain a balance
between a steady power supply and a growing need to maintain old power
stations, the parastatal said on Monday.
"Most power stations are in mid-life and require
increased maintenance; however maintenance has been continually shifted in
order to ensure we meet demands," Eskom chief executive Brian Dames said.
"The strategy of shifting maintenance outages can no
longer be sustained."
Dames was speaking at Eskom's first quarterly update for the
year. He said the updates were part of an initiative to be "fully
transparent" and proactive in communicating the state of the country's
"It is like a drought, and everyone is trying to find a
way to save water," Dames said.
"There is a similar situation in South Africa. Here,
electricity is the oxygen of the economy... the oxygen of the media. We all
need a stable power system."
He said Eskom was using cycle gas turbines and other methods
to maintain the balance between supply and demand during maintenance.
"We do not want to go back to load-shedding, but we
cannot do this alone. We need to save 10% of our current energy demand
and remove 3000 megawatts from our demand to ensure that the power system can
operate in a stable mode."
Dames said Eskom had different methods of achieving its
goal, such as introducing a voluntary energy conservation scheme to 250 of its
top customers, and the 49M initiative, which aims to encourage South Africa's
49 million people to save electricity.