Siyanda Ndlovu
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
11 May 2022
5:43 pm

Govt not taking Eskom’s pleas seriously, says Oberholzer as SA struggles with load shedding

Siyanda Ndlovu

He said that capacity as envisioned in the IRP will not be sufficient to close the gap.

Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer during the power utility's annual financial results presentation in 2018.. Picture: Gallo Images/Business Day/Freddy Mavunda

Eskom Chief Operation Officer Jan Oberholzer says he does not believe that the government is taking seriously the power utility’s plea to get 4000 MW to 6000 MW of new generation capacity on the grid as South Africa struggles with load shedding.

Oberholzer on Tuesday gave a briefing on Eskom’s system status and outlook.

He said that capacity as envisioned in the IRP will not be sufficient to close the gap.

“Generation have key turnaround plans in place to improve performance and these are being driven hard,” said Oberholzer.

“There is a current capacity gap of at least 4 000MW in order to service the country’s demand, this gap will need to be closed by external power suppliers to provide the space to effectively execute the Reliability Maintenance programme.”

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He said that with the backlog in maintenance, shortage of generating capacity in the country, and the age profile of Eskom’s generation fleet, the risk of load shedding will remain until there is adequate capacity in the country.

“Eskom will continue to drive performance improvement of its fleet within the constraints of an inadequate system and inadequate funding, which is negatively impacted by below prudent and efficient cost-reflective tariffs.

“However, this, on its own, will not be enough to fully mitigate the risk of load shedding.”

Eskom CEO Andre De Ruyter also said that there was a capacity shortfall in the power grid, and this was required to take other units off for the purposes of maintenance.

He said that load shedding remained a huge inconvenience for South Africans, but the power utility was hard at work to resolve this issue.

“I can give you the assurance that my executives and I are seized with the matter, we are working hard to resolve the issues that are outstanding, but we still face considerable challenges and some significant legacy issues we need to overcome.”