Eskom maintenance may push up tariffs

2012-06-03 14:15

Pretoria – Eskom is busy eliminating the maintenance backlog in its power network, but consumers will probably have to pay for it.

This message is contained in a presentation given on Friday by Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba and Eskom chief executive Brian Dames.

Dames explained that early maintenance to the power grid had been deferred as an emergency measure to prevent a repetition of the crippling load shedding of 2008.

Just like a lack of maintenance to an old vehicle, deferral causes mounting problems.

Over the past quarter 9.57% of the network was out of commission owing to unplanned maintenance. The year before it the figure was 6.04%.

In May there was more unplanned maintenance than expected owing, inter alia, to leakages in boiler pipes and delays in returning units to service after maintenance.

Since last year Eskom has said that it can not longer postpone the maintenance work and it has actively begun planning to increase the difference between demand and supply to allow for the decommissioning of units for essential maintenance.

The utility has entered into contracts to buy more than 1 000MW from private power suppliers and municipal generators in an effort to put additional power in the network. The household-demand management programme reduced demand by 125MW and a further 963MW was saved by short-term electricity repurchase contracts with large industrial clients.

A 3 600MW buffer was allowed for unplanned maintenance work and production losses.

In the latter half of last year an average 7.6% of the network was out of commission for planned maintenance each month. The annual average is 9.5%. Since the beginning of 2012 Eskom has accelerated its maintenance programme and pushed up the average to 12%. For the remainder of the year it is expected to be even higher.

As a result the maintenance backlog has come down from 36 units to 26 units. The electricity giant hopes that it will be able to totally clear the backlog by next year.

The flip side of this strategy is that Eskom needs to considerably increase its use of its gas turbine generators, which were designed for emergency use. They use diesel and their operating cost is 10 to 15 times that of coal-fired power stations.

According to Eskom, for the whole of last year and so far this year it has had to use the electricity generators much more than in previous years. The problem is exacerbated in winter, when demand in the evening peak period – between 17:00 and 21:00 – shoots up to 3 000MW.

Dames says Eskom’s tariffs reflect real costs. The increased costs will consequently become evident when Eskom submits its new tariff proposal to energy regulator Nersa next month.

 - Sake24

For more business news in Afrikaans, go to

  • Booswig - 2012-06-03 14:35

    Yes, sorry Mr.Government sir. Do you like me better bend over this way?

  • Fussed - 2012-06-03 14:37

    If we cant get it one way we WILL get it from you another way. What a bunch of suckers the public are

  • Koos - 2012-06-03 14:39

    He will do anything to prevent loadshedding until financial year end. Then he can get his multi million bonus for good performance.

  • John - 2012-06-03 14:45

    I love this PR smokescreen...all they are doing is preparing us for a fat increase.

      Julie - 2012-06-04 08:07

      John, where I stay, (Ekurhuleni/old East Rand) we have already been notified of increases from 1st July - a 'mere' 16% - so who the hell cares? Certainly NOT this inept bunch of useless terrorist fatcats... But didn' I read/here somewhere not too long ago that we are supplying Moçambique and or Zim with electricity at much cheaper rates than what we are paying here???

  • judith.taylor.56 - 2012-06-03 15:24

    It is high time that Eskom executives had a big pay cut for incompetence. In fact I would sack all of them for extremely bad management. No bonuses, no pay rises and performance contracts adhered to by this load of money grabbers. They are slaughtering the country's economy. And no nuclear because we DO NOT have the funds to give away on subsidies for this crippler at all nor can our health allow it

  • catherineangelique.swarts - 2012-06-03 15:50

    eskom!!!!!!! u are a bunch of rogues and thieves.

  • Mike Purchase - 2012-06-03 16:05

    I reckon its high time us consumers and tapayers lower what we must pay.

  • darryl.maze1 - 2012-06-03 16:53

    If things had've just been maintained and money properly spent we would not be having these problems, but since the new government came in and corruption got out of hand we the public must suffer. Hows about cutting the big fat salaries of these Eskom executives by more than half cause for what they are getting paid is disgusting and a kick in the face for the poor.

  • john.mccafferty.564 - 2012-06-04 07:17

    Cosatu needs to step in on this one as well

  • 0UT0FHAND - 2012-06-04 07:59

    why don't we all bend OVER and asked Eskom to give us no matter we must pay all the time pay pay pay pay milk milk milk us .AND WE ALL PAY ALL THE TIME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Leonard - 2012-06-04 11:19


  • pat.torngren - 2012-07-27 03:39

    "Eskom needs to considerably increase its use of its gas turbine generators, which were designed for emergency use. They use diesel and their operating cost is 10 to 15 times that of coal-fired power stations." What would the environmental impact of that be?

  • pages:
  • 1