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As it happened: Eskom won't allow a blackout

2015-01-15 10:38

Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona and team explain at their briefing that a blackout occurs when we lose all generation power and to bring it up could take two weeks.

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Last Updated at 03:52
15 Jan 14:27
Fin24 tech editor Gareth van Zyl speaks to Matthew le Cordeur about the keys points that he took out of the Eskom systems update at MegaWatt Park.

15 Jan 14:20
Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona gave an impassioned explanation about the challenges facing the embattled energy supplier.

15 Jan 14:01

Robbie, of Eskom, hinted that South Africa basically doesn’t have neighbouring countries who can help SA out with our lack of energy.  

New York, for example, could tap energy from other US states when it underwent a ‘blackout’.


15 Jan 14:01
Eskom: Even just reconnecting a pipe in Medupi and Kusile, it is not just a plumber's job. You can walk upright in those pipes. Understand the scale of the operation.

15 Jan 14:01
Eskom: The media should take time to go and visit Kusile to see the scale of the operations and you will get a sense of how huge it is.

15 Jan 13:59
Matona: Load shedding is rotational, it is not the whole country being in the dark.

15 Jan 13:59
Eskom: When we do stage one load shedding, we still supply 95% of the country. In stage two we still supply 90% of the country. Stage three, we are still supplying 86% of the country. A blackout is when you supply nothing, zero!

15 Jan 13:59
Eskom spokesperson explained Fin24 Gareth van Zyl's question about the solar energy rebate programme being a part of the Energy Dept and that it was never a part of Eskom. (Photo: eNCA).

15 Jan 13:58
Van Heerden of Eskom: To bring our system back again if there is a blackout, we could be without power for two weeks. We don't have other big utilities that can help us bring back the system if there is a black out. The system is designed to run at 50 Herz. It is not designed to start at a very low generation point and then pick up.

15 Jan 13:58
Van Heerden of Eskom: A blackout is when we lose all our generators. Once you lost all the generation in the country you have to try to bring it back.

15 Jan 13:56
Van Heerden of Eskom: A blackout is something we will never ever allow to happen - it is a possibility in any power system - it happened in Italy - a blackout for SA would be disastrous.

15 Jan 13:55
Robbie van Heerden of Eskom: We cannot afford to let the system move away from what it was designed for by over taxing the system.

15 Jan 13:55
Robbie van Heerden of Eskom: It is critical that supply and demand balance. We need the system to run at 50 Herz.

15 Jan 13:55
Robbie van Heerden of Eskom: We have not blacked out the system. We are doing rotational load shedding.

15 Jan 13:54
Eskom: Solar heating programme's administration will now revert back to the department of energy. This has been agreed on.

15 Jan 13:54
Eskom: Solar heating programme in SA is a programme of the department of energy and is not funded by the tariff. Eskom has been helping with the administration of that programme. We are focussing on getting maintenance done.

15 Jan 13:54
Andrew Etzinger: “[The solar energy rebate programme] is a programme of the department of energy.” It is funded by them and Eskom has been helping with administration. So, the department is taking over the administration thereof.

15 Jan 13:52
Eskom: In 2009 was the financial crisis in the world so demand went down and that is why we survived that period. But as demand picked up with the World Cup and beyond, one of the levers was delayed maintenance. But now we have to find other levers to compensate for the fact that we won't shift around maintenance.

15 Jan 13:51
Eskom: We have a better supply chain of diesel now than in 2008.

15 Jan 13:50
Ntsokolo: We also learnt how important it is to have a command centre.

15 Jan 13:50
Ntsokolo: Lessons from the 2008 load shedding: Key lessons for me are integration to limit risks. Cape and Northern part of the country etc. Another lesson was about communication so that everyone pull in the same direction.

15 Jan 13:50

15 Jan 13:49

15 Jan 13:48
Ntsokolo: We do not plan load shedding. We want to make load shedding as remote as possible. No engineer goes to varsity to learn about load shedding.

15 Jan 13:48
Mongezi Ntsokolo Group Executive Generation: We are not in the business of load shedding. We are in the business of making money to do maintenance. We are all focussed on keeping the lights on.

15 Jan 13:46
Eskom: We need certainty of when we will receive money and how the tariff increases will unfold.

15 Jan 13:46
Eskom: When we talk about Eskom running out of money, we talk about running out of budget. We have made deep cuts - eg to what we can afford regarding diesel. There is a limit to which we can put the company at risk.

15 Jan 13:44

15 Jan 13:44
Matona: We think higher tariffs are feasible and we think that will be part of our going forward.

15 Jan 13:44
Matona: One can have a smoothed and phased approach of tariff increases over time - I think that is accepted, that it will be a process of phasing it in so that one does not impact on an economy that is already anaemic even more.

15 Jan 13:44

15 Jan 13:43
Matona: Government co-owns the problem - we don't name our price - the regulator sets our price. There recognition that our tariff is not a cost effective price and that is to be addressed.

15 Jan 13:43
Matona: Government co-owns the problem

15 Jan 13:42

War room: largely technocrats working with Eskom execs. Comprises the minister of public enterprises and minister of energy. The deputy president is supposed to provide oversight of all of that. Purpose of his visit today. To see what the progress is on this. “We welcome government coming to the support of Eskom in that we alone cannot get ourselves out of this situation.”  

“The government co-owns the problem.”


15 Jan 13:42
Matona: We welcome government coming to support Eskom in recognition that we alone cannot get ourselves out of the current situation on a number of dimentions.

15 Jan 13:42
Fin24 tech editor Gareth van Zyl asked Matona why they are planning to transfer the solar energy rebate programme to the energy department?

15 Jan 13:41
Matona: The Deputy President must provide political oversight of the whole process. His visit to Eskom today was for him to come and see and engage with participants about progress.

15 Jan 13:40
Matona: Initiatives we pointed out to government includes funding - the technocrats working with Eskom executive have been part of the process.

15 Jan 13:40
Matona: Regarding Deputy President's visit: Since middle of December Eskom has been working with government technocrats about interventions that government can undertake to assist us. Where do we get the 3 000MW capacity we need to enable maintenance.

15 Jan 13:37
Journo question: What will happen if you do not get additional funding?

15 Jan 13:37

Journo question: Likelihood of load shedding every day? What are the chances of a complete black out?

Journo question: What was discussed with the deputy president this morning?

Journo question: Are you proposing higher tariffs?


15 Jan 13:35
Eskom: It will be a long drawn out period until Medupi will be at full capacity.

15 Jan 13:33
Eskom: With Medupi we always had the glass half full approach, and we were over-optimistic. With Kusile we are more realistic and that is why the Kusile schedule is being changed.

15 Jan 13:33

Eskom’s Roman Crooks:  

Medupi: reference made to making electricity in June. Synchronisation is near term, weeks away, this means feeding new electricity fed into the grid. Then 4-5 months after synchronisation, Medupi will then produce 800MW. Where are we now with Medupi: Steam will be fed through air-cool condensers. Following these tests, synchronisation starts. “We are virtually complete with Medupi.”


15 Jan 13:33
South Africa's power system is so constrained it has almost exhausted its reserve tank, Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona says.

15 Jan 13:32
Eskom: Regarding Medupi: Busy with second part of the clean up process and then we will move to the generator protection test. We are virtually complete with the construction of Medupi.

15 Jan 13:32

15 Jan 13:32

15 Jan 13:31
Eskom: Regarding Medupi: First major activity (synchronisation - when you start making electricity from a unit for the first time) is weeks away now. Since this is a new unit, it has to go through many tests.

15 Jan 13:29
Eskom: Regarding rebuilding of Duvha Power station unit, we are still talking to insurers. An investigation has been done about the root cause which was non-adherence to procedure.

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