Eskom is missing the point, consumers say | Fin24
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Eskom is missing the point, consumers say

Dec 09 2014 14:29

Cape Town – South African business owners and consumers have expressed concern over the country’s economy amid fears of continued load shedding in 2015, while others have come up with innovative ideas to solve the problem.

Fin24 user Leslie Meyer said South Africa was ripe for a down grade to junk bond status. “Everything else we have achieved in the financial and industrial environment will become meaningless,” she said. “The ANC supporters simply do not understand what the cost to the poor will be with borrowed money taking so much more out of the fiscus. And we are going to have to borrow loads more to get out of this predicament.”

Fin24 user David Mavindidze said the issue of power constraints and promises to have extra power stations built has been going on for too long. “Massive infrastructure was put in place in a short time for the World Cup, which means the capacity to achieve is there. Even if it means stalling other areas to pour enough money into the power issue, let it be. We need Eskom to be able to meet the country's power needs without constraints for growth.”

Fin24 user Moosa Teladia said we are all missing the point. “Eskom can only do (or not do) what our dysfunctional government allows. The buck stops with our government.”

Fin24 user Keith Bowler had this simple message: “Fire the management team at Eskom. They have managed this situation poorly and they need to be held accountable.”

Business, normal lives suffer

Business owner Nici told Fin24: “We are a business that operates from 18:30 to 11:00 and since Friday night I have lost three full nights of business. How fair is that? I still have to pay my rent, my staff and all other costs.”

Fin24 user Sylvia Erasmus said she experienced load shedding on Tuesday in the North West, despite Eskom saying there was no load shedding. “No day time loadshedding? It's really unbelievable! We had four hours of load shedding this morning. When the power went off the day's planning went bye bye; everything is messed up.”

Innovative solutions from users

Fin24 user Theophilus Laice said he would prefer the grid going down in one go without having to work out when his outage would occur. “Let's have the pain once: all South Africans should embrace suffering between 9:00 and 15:00 on Sundays. I think we can cope with that than this disruptive nature of load shedding.”

Fin24 user Kim Wentzel asked if there was a possibility for one hour blackouts rolling through each area and then starting again at the beginning of the list? “This will feel far more tolerable and fair. To have load shedding the same time every day is an issue.”

“Can't normal police officers be put on traffic directing duty during peak traffic time outages? It took me two hours to drive 18km on Friday.”

Fin24 user Roy Bettesworth advocated gas to help the country: “I think that the best solution would be to hire some gas generating power for two years or so - this can be done with floating gas power stations. It can then be returned when not needed.  Gas is much cheaper than diesel.”

Fin24 user H Eyssen was not feeling in a festive mood. “Why not turn all Christmas lights off that are not solar; it would be better to have normal lights than a dark Christmas and New Year. It would save a lot of power country wide.”

Lessons from an artisan

Fin24 user Max Rennie said the problem has to do with a skill shortage and poor maintenance.

“During the early years of my life I worked for the Mechanical Workshop that ran thousands of machines, cranes, boilers and compressors. The maintenance crew consisted of approximately 30 artisan millwrights and 15 electricians.

“We seldom had a mechanical failure for the simple reason that there was a preventative maintenance system in place. We had trained artisans that knew what they were doing. They were not necessarily highly educated in terms of technical college, but they were men that had been trained to think for themselves and to understand why they were doing what. It does not take an army of workers to run a huge operation, just logical systems in place that were followed and implemented.

“With all the thousands of machines and hundreds of vehicles, there were only three senior artisans that carried out scheduled inspections. The inspection of equipment used for lifting items during production such as cranes, chain blocks, overhead cranes, etc was carried out by only two senior artisan inspectors.

“Logs and files were kept of everything by these five men and not computerised in those days. It worked. And artisans were expected to take responsibility in all matters. If a drill bit was drawn from the tool store and it broke, the person responsible would have to pay for it.
“When I joined the Railways during the 60s as an apprentice, the Preventative Maintenance System was not operational and thanks to the vision of a few guys at the top it was implemented country wide. The down time of machines, plant and equipment reduced radically. In house, there were no expensive consultants.

“It doesn't take a miracle, just a few good men that know what they are doing.”

Fin24 user Jo Gertenbach had four points for Eskom to consider:

1. Stop making excuses and focusing your energy on political issues.
2. Complete the power stations that are under construction. Medupi is four years behind schedule! Get motivated workers to dig in and finish the job.
3. Please get rid of all the cadres that are in your employment. They eat up half your money and are of no use.
4. Please take note of Chris Yelland's informed advice and do something.

* Read our full coverage on load shedding.

* Share your views via email about #loadshedding24

* Full Eskom presentation:

eskom  |  load shedding  |  energy crisis


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