Reitumetse Makwea

By Reitumetse Makwea

Journalist


Load shedding takes backseat: ‘We are winning’, says Mr Electric

The implementation of the Energy Action Plan in South Africa has shown positive results, according to Minister of Electricity Ramokgopa.


With just a year since the introduction of the Energy Action Plan, Minister of Electricity Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said it was bearing fruit, resulting in lower stages of load shedding due to the “sustainable and enduring” plan. He said Eskom had been able to reduce capacity loss caused by plant failures to about 15 000 megawatts, which was the best-case scenario forecast in its planning for winter “and we even recorded just below 14 000MW recently as well”. “We can see that consistently we have been at 15 000MW or less and one of the days, we even recorded just…

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With just a year since the introduction of the Energy Action Plan, Minister of Electricity Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said it was bearing fruit, resulting in lower stages of load shedding due to the “sustainable and enduring” plan.

He said Eskom had been able to reduce capacity loss caused by plant failures to about 15 000 megawatts, which was the best-case scenario forecast in its planning for winter “and we even recorded just below 14 000MW recently as well”.

“We can see that consistently we have been at 15 000MW or less and one of the days, we even recorded just below 14 000MW.

“It is the consistency of the application of this strategy to ensure we do everything meticulously, thoroughly, we are deliberate and robust in the manner in which we are able to address this,” he said.

Ramokgopa said when the president introduced the electricity ministry portfolio, outage slippage – when the utility cannot return out-of-service units on time – accounted for some 2 900MW, which was “almost three stages of load shedding” and was now sitting at 1 351MW, which “we want to improve” further.

“It is a function of the expertise that is sitting with us … of us working with the original equipment manufacturers … of understanding the units better and applying a degree of science. We’ve been able to maintain that trendline, we are approximately in that 60% energy availability factor.”

“As a result of improved generation capacity, we’ve got additional space to do what we call good maintenance, planned maintenance. Remember that one of the underlying assumptions was when we entered winter as part of our winter outlook.

“We had said we were going to reduce planned maintenance drastically so that we have as many units as possible at any given time generating the megawatts that we need,” he said.

Ramokgopa said despite criticism, the recent significant improvement in load shedding was due to a major focus on improving generation to an average output of about 60%.

This allowed Eskom to increase planned maintenance.

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