Eskom promises to keep SA's lights on

2011-01-06 12:48

Johannesburg - Eskom CEO Brian Dames on Thursday guaranteed that the parastatal will keep the lights on, despite heavy rains across the country affecting coal supply to power stations.

"Early heavy rainfalls have required us to activate contingency plans to minimise disruptions to coal production and logistics," he said.

"Challenges remain due to coal handling and coal quality issues," Dames said at a media briefing in Johannesburg.

Coal stockpiles are reported at an average of 41 days across the system.

Dames says Eskom has enough capacity between now and the end of summer, but warned about tight supply.

"The bottom line is the system is tight; we don't have adequate reserves. The pressure going forward is about having enough reserves," he said.

In addition to unexpected heavy rains, Dames said other risks included the unplanned shutdown of a unit at one of its biggest stations, Koeberg.

As a result, maintenance at other power stations has been rescheduled until the Koeberg unit returns to service, which is expected by this month.

Eskom said energy demand is currently about 29 000 megawatts (MW), but this is expected to rise to between 31 000 MW and 32 000 MW over the next two weeks.

Demand is set to increase by winter to about 38 000 MW.

"In the next two years, there is an energy gap and therefore an immediate focus is needed on energy efficiency," said Dames.

He said the utility wanted to take a different route to balance the gap between electricity demand and supply.

"We have started work and we are monitoring the system. We will start doing things differently," he said.

Dames appealed to electricity users, including big companies, to do their part in saving electricity.

"If you are not using it, switch it off."


  • Shams - 2011-01-06 13:37

    The most highly paid organisation in SA and yet they haven't a clue how to generate electricity or manage simple supply chains. Amazing we never had "wet coal" or shortage issues, until the ANC took control.

  • JohannVJ - 2011-01-06 13:55

    LIES!!! Rawsonville's power was off on Tuesday from 13h00 - 16h00, while the temp was 42C. Yesterday the power was off from 11h00 - 13h00, while the temp was 43C. Last night the power was off from 21h00 - 22h00 while the temp was 30+... Imagine the comfort levels. lol

  • Whatever - 2011-01-06 14:04

    So the coal is wet because of the rain. My question is: How much electricity is being generated from the water flowing through the dam walls right now? My guess, not a whole lot

  • Don - 2011-01-06 14:15

    My home lights are off. They went off on Tuesday at 10h00 and came back on at 16h00. Again today the same time frame seems to be in force. Striking similarity to our area load shedding days and hours of 2008???

  • DiDi - 2011-01-06 15:12

    Before the festive season I noted on three different occasions that the street lights just past Century City/Ratanga Junction on the N1, remained on all day! I think this is a shocking misuse of electricity - who is to blame for this wastage?

  • Jacko - 2011-01-06 16:41

    Eskom PROMISES? Oh pleez, gimme a break!!!

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