Extent of Eskom problem 'hidden from public'

Extent of Eskom problem 'hidden from public'

2014-03-06 15:42

Cape Town - The Eskom power cuts are disastrous for the economy, economist Dawie Roodt told Fin24.

He reacted to the Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa statement on Thursday that the wave of power cuts being experienced throughout the country is a temporary setback.

"Off course the economy will be affected. In fact, Eskom already said they requested their major customers to cut usage by 10%," said Roodt.

"In other instances Eskom is buying power back. All this means that production is being affected and it will impact on GDP growth.

He said this is disastrous for an economy that is already on as weak growth trajectory.

Problem 'hidden from public'

The only good thing about the new round of rolling blackouts is that it has made the public aware of the extent of the Eskom calamity, says the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“For the last few years it has been the mines and industry that have been forced to cut their power usage so that the lights could be kept on for the rest of us,” said Peter Haylett, chair of the Chamber’s industrial focus portfolio committee.

“This concealed the true extent of the problem from the public.”
Eskom’s failure to supply enough power had been like a brake on industry.
“We’ve heard the wet coal story before and it turned out that the real problem was that Eskom’s stockpile of coal had been allowed to run down to just a few days. The rain was just the last straw,” Haylett.

After the rolling black-outs of 2007/2008,  Eskom undertook to build up its stockpile so that it had reserves to last more than a month, enough to see it through any rainy season.

Haylett said that managing coal supplies was basic to the industry and failure to do so reflected on Eskom management.

“It rains every summer on the Highveld. It is a normal operational problem and one that is dealt with by simple planning.  This is not rocket science,” he said.

The basic problem was that Eskom was a huge monopoly protected from competition in his view.

“We need to get the municipalities back into the business of generating electrity and we need to open the way for independent power producers," said Haylett.
“We have reached a stage where we have to think of alternatives to Eskom. Many businesses have already turned to solar power to meet some of their needs and we can expect this trend to accelerate."

He said independent power producers, who can sell electricity to an independently run national grid, are needed.

The legislation to make this possible has already been prepared and approved in principle by all parties in Parliament but it keeps vanishing.

“The independent services and marketing operations bill (ISMO) must be revived and implemented without delay. This is now a national emergency,” said Haylett.

  • Wehr Wulf - 2014-03-06 15:55

    Lying, thieving, incompetent, useless, two faced a$$holes of a guvment.

  • Ken Muller - 2014-03-06 15:59

    In 1994, when heaven was created ANC, all the BEE cronies clamouring for jobs, wanting to earn R7mil per year, but had zero intelligence for planning for the future, zippo, all they wanted was millions in their bank accounts, the cadres, but absolutely no idea of how to take the country 20 years down the line. Give BEE the boot !!

      Nic Mechanic - 2014-03-06 16:06

      I concur fully....

      Ken Muller - 2014-03-06 16:07

      Yep Francois..those great days when John Maree, Alan Morgan, Jan De Beer, Mick Davis ran Eskom..I did consulting for Eskom. what a great company...all the great power stations..Duvha, Camden, Matimba ..those were the days !!

      Tilo Von Brandis - 2014-03-06 16:18

      Francois, I am very sure that a large part of this population of previously disadvantaged is NOT very happy about this. They are affected by this incompetence as much as anybody else. We cannot make this a black and white thing, its our CURRENT leaders. How will we ever become a harmonious inclusive society when we judge a whole race by a few incompetent and corrupt people? That is the same a judging all white people by the NP government and their shameful history!

      Francois Van Wyk - 2014-03-06 16:24

      Emmm Tilo, we ARE judged as the old NP regime.... Being white is now a disease...

      Aaron Aden - 2014-03-06 16:43

      Tilo - I don't blame the corrupt government... I blame the electorate for voting the ANC in - they are essentially asking for it. Tell me Tilo if say 20 million people voted and gave unguided allegiance to you, you would most probably do the same. This country will do down hill until the MAJORITY wake the hell up and yes this is about race and I have zero doubt that the majority vote ANC due to race otherwise why would anyone vote for them?

      Aaron Aden - 2014-03-06 16:45

      Tilo if the ANC where a white party they wouldn't be in power right now.

      Tilo Von Brandis - 2014-03-06 16:46

      Agreed, and I don't like being judged by what the NP did to the people who live in this country, because I did not agree with segregation and so did a lot of white people. How can we complain if we carry on generalising this way? How will there ever be a critical mass of people that are concern about the country and its prosperity, if we don't work together to remove a devastating government. How can I have a discussion with a non-white person who feels like I do about our government when I, by virtue of his color, also blame him for this mess? How will we improve the predicament of this country when we still see everything in black and white, when it is really about individuals? You cannot expect non-white people to believe in you and your abilities when you cant believe in theirs.

      Aaron Aden - 2014-03-06 17:22

      Agreed - The solution is to use democracy as they used to end Apartheid - white people voted to end Apartheid because it was wrong South Africans today should do the same. How can anyone that wants South Africa to prosper and all the people within it, vote for a blatantly corrupt government party that supports and promotes racism - agreed we should work together to make SA a better place.

  • Riaan van Niekerk - 2014-03-06 15:59

    Here have some more bonuses . . greedy pigs!!!!

  • Amos Quito - 2014-03-06 16:01

    Not only the Eskom problems 'hidden from public', add to the list SAA, SABC, Transnet, ........

  • Revelgen - 2014-03-06 16:03

    Yep, the ANC got all excited about 'freedom' in 1994. What they DIDN'T seem to realise is that expertise, brainpower, strategic planning and hard work is necessary to run a modern country. But no, 'We look important in our Inkandlas, mansions and top-end Mercs,' thinking THAT was about governing. Now the chickens are coming home to roost in a dozen different areas (Eskom, SAA, SABC, municipalities, hospitals, education etc etc) and the truth that the ANC is s useless corrupt government is now clearly being revealed. The only hope for South Africans: vote out this bunch of thieving incompetents, and put a REAL government (of all races) in power. Otherwise we have no hope.

      Aaron Aden - 2014-03-06 16:49

      Shame for them imagine being that useless/stupid... I cannot even comprehend how anyone can think like them? Can the ANC just make one good decision just one. They must have the wrong guide as what not to do they just got mixed up.

  • Cina - 2014-03-06 16:04

    Escom is in such a mess but boy o boy big bonuses and increases they will take.

  • DerekMain - 2014-03-06 16:04

    I love it!! It's like a perfect storm just before the elections. Now the cANCer's ineptitude is laid bare for all to see. With any luck, this will lose them even more votes. It's all coming to a head and all their corruption and mismanagement is catching up on them. Next to come is the Nkandla report - 19th March is D-day. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Phansi cANCer, phansi!!!

      Janine Filmer - 2014-03-06 16:32

      I agree - as annoying as the power cuts are, they are wonderful for showing up the inefficiency of the anc.

      Maritz Beukes - 2014-03-07 13:34

      Do you really think that the ANC is going to allow that report to see the light before the elections? Think again, it will be suppressed and delayed until after the elections, and if not it will be tainted and show that everything was above board and that there was no corruption.

  • Tilo Von Brandis - 2014-03-06 16:05

    What is also interesting is that Eskom is prepared to buy power from the independent power providers, but without a contract, so that when one day Medupi and the other projects are switched on, the income and ROI for these IPP's is not protected. Again, Eskom is only looking at its own interests and not at the interests of the country. Why? Are they afraid that they are to incompetent to compete with other suppliers? Does the government not want to relinquish power?

  • Andre Louis Terre Blanche - 2014-03-06 16:05

    Power shortage with the platinum mines on strike? What is going to happen once the strike is resolved an all the mines become operational again?

      Ann Ornelas - 2014-03-06 16:12

      Very good point Andre

      BatongaBoro - 2014-03-06 16:20

      perhaps it is just as well, then, that the strikes will never end. someone somewhere will always want an 80% increase backdated ten years.

  • Erna Westdyk - 2014-03-06 16:08

    I would like to lay a bet that there won't be load shedding at Nkandla. Same old, same old - anything managed by government is mismanaged!

  • Michael Anderson - 2014-03-06 16:10

    Yet they make record profit year on year with Million rand bonuses. Must be apartheids fault again........NOT

  • criticallyhonest - 2014-03-06 16:12

    In South Africa...anything older than 10 years does not need planned maintenance. Just let it rot away, let people forget what was, declare it unrecoverable, demolish it...... and eventually brag about the new stuff you have built in its place. Power Stations, Hospitals, Suburbs, City Centres and more.....

      criticallyhonest - 2014-03-06 17:23

      Who cares at what costs, it is just another ideologically sponsored redistribution of wealth from the tax base to the sticky fingers.

  • CraigJoseph - 2014-03-06 16:15

    We are being punished for Eskom's gross negligence. I for one am so tired of being told to pay more for what I may not use. Heads need to roll at Eskom, soon!

  • Sipho Gift - 2014-03-06 16:17

    That's not suprisingly bcoz zumas regimes has neva being faithfull but sum of us who r businessman it real affects us deeply bcoz we need electricity 4 production while the no1 thief sitting there @ corrupt museum that worth R206m frm us taxpayers & we r falling prey of this dictactor through taxes yet we've got staff to pay month bcoz they've reported 4duty

  • BatongaBoro - 2014-03-06 16:19

    it is tragic that no one investigates the real story, and comments like this get deleted. not long after he came to power, Mbeki was presented with the plans for new power stations and new highways. power stations needed for all the new homes, roads - in particular two new highways from Soweto to Pretoria - needed for the increases in traffic over the next 20 years. Mkbeki ordered both cancelled as they would cost too much. the 1% and 2% cuts he instructed Manuel to make to Corporate Tax would have easily covered the cost. this problem was caused by Mbeki's short-sightedness and made worse by Zuma, who does not have a clue about anything beyond sex and tuck shops. it was with good, good, good reason that Mr Mandela advised the ANC against selecting Mbeki or Zuma as leader.

      kavi.pillay.9 - 2014-03-06 16:44

      Let's not forget Alec Irwin's massive elephant PBMR... So alas it's always been incompetence

  • Abdul Cassiem - 2014-03-06 16:22

    F@k sokker f@k di ANC f@k Eskom

      Clarence Walter - 2014-03-06 18:31

      10 uit 10.

  • Janine Filmer - 2014-03-06 16:24

    We were without power today from 12.15 until 14.15 and apparently are scheduled to be powerless tonight from 20.00 to 22.30. Eskom is the height of inefficiency.

  • Zureta Schulz - 2014-03-06 16:25

    Maybe if more focus was spent on Eskom and infrastructure and less money wasted on E-tolls .....

      BatongaBoro - 2014-03-06 16:54

      how about they should have both? fix the roads and power stations, that is. governments around the world somehow manage to do more than one thing at a time, rather than going "eish this is too much let me sit in my pool by the tuck shop after a shower"

  • wayne.strydom - 2014-03-06 16:26

    Watch the big bonuses the bosses will get this year...

  • Geoff Skelton - 2014-03-06 16:29

    what hasn't been said by this bunch of clowns is that a large chunk of the power consumers are already shut down, the Platinum industry smelters have been off line for several weeks. I think we would have been deep in the brown stuff weeks back if it hadn't been for the mines strike. Problem now is that even if the strike ends the mines wont be able to start up their smelters again. Time for heads in the sand approach again now guys, blame the previous regime....

  • Sithembele Vuta - 2014-03-06 16:34

    There we go again Eishkom Eskom started to politicize electricity load shedding again.I don't know what's wrong with these Eskom people.

      BatongaBoro - 2014-03-06 16:56

      the blackouts are a political thing, since there are no private energy suppliers allowed. the ANC under Mbkei refused to build more power stations when they were warned they would be needed for all the new houses and businesses.

  • Chrisjan Botha - 2014-03-06 16:51

    Motion of no confidence in Zuma and the whole of the ANC led government. Booo Zuma!

  • rowan.torr.9 - 2014-03-06 16:53

    Good bye Brian.

  • BLUESILVER2012 - 2014-03-06 17:04

    No no...I blame the white man....AND Apartheid....if the whiteman built smaller dams they could fitted many more electrical generators...50 years ago because we the ANC, only know how to steal.

  • John Short - 2014-03-06 17:10

    Did anybody believe the problems were resolved?

  • William MacFarlane - 2014-03-06 17:16

    This is what happens when you place politicians in places they have no experience . Political appointments are what has ruined most government departments . The public service from director general down are supposed to be apolitical , not political . In south africa they seem to change every year because they clash with their minister. Until politicians come to the reality that they are their to serve all the people of the country and not a political party , nothing will change . We have a president who is a joke world wide .

  • Henk Langerak - 2014-03-06 17:22

    After many years of time for corrective actions, price hikes after price hikes, we are still in the same Sh*t as ever. So how about a refund Eskom

  • Christopher Mark V Lowe - 2014-03-06 17:23

    Eskom's problems are a direct consequence of the ANC's failure to properly maintain, and expand SA's electricity infrastructure, as well their failure to do any future planning. Too busy lying, stealing, cheating and wasting our resources and now, 20 years after taking on a stable, efficient and well run parastatal, the chickens are well and truly coming home to roost. Various ANC ministers, and a swathe of Eskom board members and 'management' have overseen this appalling neglect. They should all have their salaries and bonuses taken away and be put in a jail cell for a long, long time. Nothing more clearly illustrates the incompetence, the stupidity, the ignorance and the sheer bloody waste of 20 years of ANC government. Now we're a Banana Republic with a bunch of very wealthy morons in charge. Anybody who still wants to vote ANC after this stuff up needs a brain transplant.

      mmmmTim - 2014-03-06 17:28

      And they will still try to blame this on Apartheid and the whites

  • Xenswim1 - 2014-03-06 17:27

    Not private enterprise but they should fire the lot and get the old management regime into play. Problem is that the system is now likely so screwed that it is near impossible to fix as well as stolen / free Electricity the government has not guts to action because it will loose voters. The whole free electricity and EE combined with BEE has come back to bite the country in the bum for a second time. If those so-called poor complain / riot about the lack of free services I cannot imagine that those couple of million who pay up from their hard earned money will put up with for lack of services much longer.

  • Mpho Mabena - 2014-03-06 17:50

    This Eskom is like SAA they can under perform or misuse funds ANC is there to bail them out

      Earle Francis - 2014-03-06 20:08

      NOT the ANC! the taxpayers, how simple is it to understand that?

      William Sass - 2014-03-07 00:18

      heya Mpho, wake up outjie

      CliveK - 2014-03-07 12:02

      NOT the ANC, Mpho - it's us taxpayers who bail them out. Eskom has to keep going in one form or the other, but SAA is money terminally down the drain.

  • Colleen Williams - 2014-03-06 17:51

    Sell Eskom and let somebody have it to run it the way it should be run!! Without black outs, and power sharing and lying and corruption and high salaries for incompetent people and selling our power to other countries! Come on ANC let go and stop keeping us in the dark!!

  • Ian Frost - 2014-03-06 18:10

    There is one true reason for us all to love the ANC, because they alone will bring about their own downfall! Lights out!

  • Lauren McKenzie - 2014-03-06 18:17

    Since Eskom is supplying Botswana with power (80% of botswana's power is supplied by eskom- I stand corrected) is Botswana also having load shedding? That's all I want to know

      Clarence Walter - 2014-03-06 18:26

      Don't think so - they would certainly care more about a foreign interest than their own citizens.

  • Clarence Walter - 2014-03-06 18:23

    But come election time, this useless thieving bunch of idiots get voted in again after having bribed their electorate with KFC, T-shirts and more empty promises (read LIES).

  • Mark Geyer - 2014-03-06 18:42

    Yet the naive will still vote for the cANCer

  • Beverley Dawn Arnould - 2014-03-06 18:58

    Twelve months ago: "eis boss coal is small, ja amper klaar". Last week: "eish boss small coal is wet, beeg problems". Viva Eskom, Nog 'n maand lank, of rollin black outs. Viva ANC !!!!!!

  • MichWright84 - 2014-03-06 20:28

    To be fair, one ought to remember that the lack of supply is partly a legacy issue resulting from an acute lack of planning under the old regime.

      Ian Trenor - 2014-03-06 23:47

      Incorrect. The new regime under Mbeki were warned in the late 90s and it was ignored!!

      OldNick - 2014-03-07 10:33

      Quite right Ian. In the late 80s and early 90s the old regime prepared a strategic plan for the upgrade and maintenance of ESKOM and the power grid till 2020, in anticipation of mass electrification and increased industrial and infrastructure requirements. In the early 1990's we had excess capacity as a result. This plan was dumped by the ANC government under Mandela because the ANC were going to do their own comprehensive plan which they promptly didn't. What they did do was mothball the excess capacity and strip and sell off accumulated spares and unused plant and equipment (which we now desperately need and which has to be ordered and purchased new at vastly inflated prices and with delivery times of a several years. Now after 20 years of dithering, bumbling mis-management by the ANC government ESKOM effectively has less base load capacity than it did in 1994. As for wet coal excuse, not only have the coal stock piles been depleted as highlighted in this article but have been augmented with deliveries of coal of the wrong grade from other regions (because much of the coal mined in the vicinity of the 5 coal fired power stations in Mpumalanga - the backbone of ESKOM's base load fleet is now being flogged to Asian and European countries for their power stations). These power stations were built in the middle of the Highveld coal fields for a reason and coal feed systems are matched to the grade of coal in the region. Using coal from elsewhere reduces their efficiency.

      CliveK - 2014-03-07 12:05

      Utter rubbish, Mich. What Ian and Nick say is absolutely correct, and Mbeki actually had the grace to admit that his govt erred in not listening to the experts who ran Eskom in those days.

  • Linda Sharon Reichert - 2014-03-06 20:29

    The extent of the problem is hidden from us all!!! How good can the management be if everything is dependent on the coal and it is not protected??? A nurse of occupation, like me, that has nothing to do with engineering can see that clearly!!

  • Willie Mostert - 2014-03-06 21:56

    Obtaining a independent power producers permit is apparently a nightmare. I know of a client who waited two years for consent by Escom - so it seems they are misguiding the public to protect their own bottom line - this is anti-competitive behaviour and they should be charged in court for it. And by the way - with the huge additional solar and wind turbine farms up and running, how is that the supply is still inadequate at times?

  • Jacques Oberholzer - 2014-03-06 23:22

    The fact is that the logistics consultants employed by Eskom after the 2008 blackouts, to implement a coal supply management system, were booted out by Eskom a month ago. Eskom can not manage its own coal supplies. It took Eskom a month to hit the wall without the consultants.

  • Izak Nel - 2014-03-07 08:05

    It's true that it's not a power crisis . It's a management crisis.

  • Butch van Blerk - 2014-03-07 08:30

    impossible not to ascribe to apartheid - apartheid was worst and this is direct result - cant expect gang of anc to be able to run company efficient after 25 years cause this will take at least 1000 years - apartheid boys , apartheid - this is it - perhaps also satan as mabula said of boeers of zuma at brazil soccer - o yea - there's a new one now - its' satan now, and apartheid is second

  • Peter L' Estrange - 2014-03-07 09:46

    Is the photo showing an Eskom maintenance worker with his bare feet? Noi wonder we are in the .....t.

  • Tassia Nolan - 2014-03-07 14:26

    Eskom's Power cuts is a way safe costs - in order to afford those big staff bonuses

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