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7 Reasons why Eskom is on the brink

Energy expert Chris Yelland breaks down why he thinks the country’s only power supplier could crack.

The troubled Medupi power station in Limpopo. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom has declared an energy emergency, placing restrictions on heavy industries for the next week and a half.

Energy expert and EE Publishers Managing Director Chris Yelland believes the utility is at breaking point.

Here's why:

1 _- _About 12,000 megawatts of generation capacity is out of service, out of a total 40,000 megawatts.

2 - Maintenance isn't being carried out adequately on a regular basis meaning disruptive maintenance on a far greater scale.

3 - The two new power stations, Medupi and Kusile, suffered major delays in construction for various reasons, leaving Eskom severely below capacity.

4 - The failure to ensure efficient construction comes from 20 years of not building power stations before suddenly taking on two mega projects.

5 - The structure of Eskom is outdated. It's a vertically-integrated state-owned monopoly where the shareholder doesn't provide enough equity, leaving Eskom to take out loans and rely on users to pay their bills.

6 - Everything in the White Paper on the Energy Policy of South Africa, developed between 1997 and 1998, was not implemented, specifically the requirement for competition in the market.

7 - An over-reliance on increasingly expensive coal is choking Eskom. Moving towards other means of generation is happening too slowly.

Overall, Yelland says, "We will slowly bumble on. We will slowly get these things right as we slowly see the light of the things that we should have done 16 years ago."

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