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Eskom debunks 'negative narrative by some energy experts'

Jun 29 2016 21:05

Johannesburg - There should be no denying that Eskom's performance has improved over the last 10 months, group executive for generation, Matshela Koko said on Wednesday.

He reacted to what he called recent reports about the absence of loadshedding being a result of luck instead of concerted efforts by Eskom to turn the situation around.

"This performance improvement is easily visible to the naked eye, but not to ideologues in whose eyes a state-owned company is incapable of delivering basic services as effectively as Eskom currently does. The improved performance is a result of strong leadership from the top and hard work by Eskom employees," said Koko.
"The assertion that it is not Eskom’s performance but rather the economic slowdown that has kept the lights on for the past 10 months is disputed. The facts speak for themselves."

The peak demand so far in 2016 was 34 899MW, which is 418MW higher than peak demand experienced in 2015.

"To put this in context, 418MW is almost equivalent to one unit at the Kriel power station. Peak demand for electricity in SA is during winter and is driven predominantly by the cold weather conditions," said Koko.

"While there has been a 2% reduction in energy consumption year to date, the actual peak demand for this year so far was higher than that of last year. The highest peak of 2016 was easily supplied by available generation and without the use of the expensive diesel units (as compared to 2015) or the implementation of load shedding."
Last year Eskom used five levers to meet demand, namely support by the independent power producers (IPPs), mandatory demand reduction, contracted demand reductions, diesel generation and the utilisation of Eskom’s generation fleet. This year, Eskom has not used mandatory demand reduction, and has managed to decrease diesel usage to a load factor of 0.4% from 25% in 2015.
Last year Eskom was spending over R1bn a month on diesel costs, however this has been dramatically reduced with diesel expenditure for the month of June 2016 being R19m, down from the R854m in October 2015. According to Koko, this illustrates that Eskom continues to be in control of the power system and is continuously improving in meeting the energy demand.

"In the past seven months Eskom increased its energy availability factor (EAF) from 69% to 78% year to date. This has added new generation capacity of 2 599MW excluding Medupi and Kusile units. It has achieved the highest peak capacity in four years at 39 067MW, met the high peak demand of 34 808MW and achieved the planned maintenance factor of 11% year to date," said Koko.

"As if this is not enough, the EAF for the month of June 2016 is over 80% and the unplanned maintenance is 9.3%, which is the lowest since 2010. It is interesting to note though, that weeks 18 to 23 had higher peak demand than any period last year. To any impartial reader, this is the result of the efforts of Eskom’s employees, top leadership and strategic shift rather than purely the economic slowdown."
As a result of the improved fleet performance, Eskom has excess capacity of up to 14 000MW between 02:00 and 04:00 in winter. On average 2 000MW of this excess capacity is being exported daily to neighbouring states.

"Eskom continues to seek new customers across the border in order to export an additional minimum of 1 200MW. This will require the strengthening of the transmission backbone in the SADC region. Efforts are being conducted with members of SADC to undertake this," said Koko.

"Not only is Eskom undertaking more maintenance but it is also performing outages more efficiently. There is a funded comprehensive maintenance strategy in place and the improved EAF is testament to the fact that this maintenance regime is working," said Koko.
"Luck is about not load shedding for one day. Not load shedding for 10 months and improving performance across core indicators has nothing to do with luck, and any reputable expert would know that."

eskom  |  load shedding  |  sa economy  |  energy


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