Eskom said President Cyril Ramaphosa’s elaborate reforms to tackle South Africa’s energy crisis will accelerate the end of load shedding.
The power utility has welcomed the announcement of further reforms and is in full support of measures announced by Ramaphosa on Monday to address the long-running electricity crisis.
Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said these reforms will go a long way towards easing the power generation constraints the country has been grappling with for about 14 years.
“The reforms will accelerate the end of load shedding and will expand and grow the electricity generation industry in South Africa through structural changes.”
Mantshantsha said Eskom is also pleased that the government has taken steps to empower the parastatal to acquire additional generation capacity from existing independent power producers (IPP), as well as the spares and equipment from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and the resources to increase the funding of the maintenance budget.
“To this end, Eskom is engaged in efforts with all interested stakeholders to introduce the necessary skills where we have gaps at the moment. Eskom has already reached out to the National Society of Black Engineers to ascertain if members of the NSBE are interested in assisting Eskom to bolster its skills.”
According to Mantshantsha, Eskom will prioritise recovering its Energy Availability Factor (EAF), especially at its coal plants where performance has been disappointing.
“The measures announced by the President will enable Eskom to intensify its maintenance efforts to drive improvements in EAF. Eskom’s efforts to acquire battery energy storage systems (BESS) are already at an advanced stage, with further tranches of BESS rollout to follow imminently.
“Furthermore, as the President announced, Eskom has already released land with grid connections for long term leases by independent power producers, with more to follow in the near future,” Mantshantsha added.
Mantshantsha says the measures announced by Ramaphosa, particularly reforms removing limits to private sector investments in electricity generation capacity, will help unlock investments and create jobs during the construction of the projects. It may also lower the cost of electricity in the long term.
It took almost a month of intense disruptions due to load shedding for Ramaphosa to take charge of the electricity crisis that has deepened year after year, but on Monday he eventually announced drastic steps to end load shedding, ensure the sustainability of Eskom, and transform the electricity supply industry.