Avatar photo

By Amanda Watson

News Editor

Gordhan’s 9-point rescue plan for Eskom is a spark of hope

An energy expert says the proposal by the public enterprises minister will take time and money – both of which are in short supply.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s nine-point plan for bringing Eskom back from the brink of collapse is a credible one that deals with the operational issues of the state-owned entity, according to energy expert Chris Yelland.

But he said it would take time and money, both of which – along with electricity – are in short supply.

“I have little doubt government will have to come to the table with a bailout because, in the short term, Eskom is going to need more money,” Yelland said.

He believed this could cost up to R100 billion.

According to DA shadow minister of public enterprises Natasha Mazzone, the bailout was “certain to be truly massive and may even dwarf the 2015 bailout of Eskom, which included a R23 billion ‘special appropriation’ and the conversion of a R60 billion subordinated loan to worthless equity”.

Gordhan’s plan includes fixing the new plants at Medupi, Kusile and Ingula and addressing “known design errors through an expert team to guide the recovery and application of contractual remedies”.

Fixing full load losses and trips meant improved planning, execution and effectiveness of maintenance, including training, and optimising procurement processes to enable swifter purchases when required, said Yelland.

He also wanted to “reduce partial load losses by addressing major contributors per plant and system and re-energise the tube leak reduction programme”, fixing outage durations through improved outage planning and execution.

Gordhan wanted to make appointments “in critical positions, train key staff and relink centralised support functions to the stations” and prepare for increased open cycle gas turbine usage to ensure they were able to run when required.

Plans also needed to be made to recover coal stockpiles and reduce the impact of rain on the stockpiles by “driving compliance with the various power stations’ wet coal handling procedures”.

“One of the decisions the Eskom board made – with which I concur – was to ask one of the leading agencies in the world called Inel, which originates from Italy, to send us two or three of their very senior coal power station engineers,” Gordhan said.

“We can utilise their experience together with South African engineers over the next 10 days or so to establish a) why are we having these frequent breakdowns, b) do we have the right competence among the engineers in Eskom itself, c) is the maintenance work being done of the right quality, and d) how do we get more medium-term solutions instead of just quick fixes.”

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.

Read more on these topics

Eskom gordhan

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits