Sipho Mabena
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
3 Dec 2018
5:38 am

Speculation mounts that Eskom is being sabotaged by aggrieved staff

Sipho Mabena

Yelland said though it was not confirmed, people within Eskom appeared to be flexing their muscles and know where to switch the power utility off.

Eskom problems. Picture: Twitter

Eskom’s Stage 2 load shedding on a weekend, when demand was at its lowest, has raised eyebrows, but the power utility said this was the perfect time to replenish reserves for weekday peak demand.

Yesterday, Eskom ahain implemented Stage 2 load shedding, calling for rotational load shedding of 2,000MW, between 8am and 10pm nationally, but energy analyst Chris Yelland said this was abnormally high for a weekend.

“It is convenient to do it over the weekend but to go to 2,000MW on a weekend is abnormally high. We do not know the answer to why so much had to be load-shed but talks are that people are aggrieved for various reasons … and are not doing what they should be doing,” Yelland said.

He said word out there was there is internal resistance to Eskom’s planned restructuring, with some people in top positions uncertain of their future and possibly sabotaging the power utility from within. Yelland said though it was not confirmed, people within Eskom appeared to be flexing their muscles and know where to switch the power utility off.

“It is too early to make a definite call, but there are tensions. We have seen during the previous wage negotiations where coal was prevented from leaving depots, resulting in load shedding.

“There are talks of flexing of muscles, sending the message that ‘we can switch you off’,” he said. Dikatso Mathare, Eskom deputy spokesperson, said they would not comment on speculation but did say it was dangerous to make allegations when people were working around the clock to fix the problem.

She said, as stated in their statement, the only reason for load shedding over the weekend was to replenish energy reserves, saying operations such as pumping water to the higher level of the dam and then to lower level took hours.

“There is no way to fast-forward that process; it takes hours,” she said. Eskom said a generation plant continues to be out on planned maintenance, approximately 5,000 MW, and there was a higher-than-expected number of units, at approximately 10,000 MW, on unplanned maintenance due to technical faults.

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