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'Electricity supply could be constrained for years'

Eskom has revealed that it could take years before reaching the 90 percent benchmark for plant availability.

FILE: Eskom has revealed that it could take years before reaching the 90 percent benchmark for plant availability. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's electricity system is back in the spotlight after Eskom revealed that it could take years before reaching the 90 percent benchmark for plant availability.

It's considered international best practice to have 90 percent of power-generating fleet available and South Africa currently only has 75 percent available.

Electricity supply therefore could be severely constrained for years even if the Medupi Power Station starts operating soon.

It's believed that adding 800 megawatts to the power grid might only make a slight difference.

Eskom's Andrew Etzinger says this is due to a lack of maintenance.

"Our power stations are on average older than 30 years now and with that comes an additional amount of maintenance required which we are simply not getting to. We are concerned, and in order to turn around our position, we need to do more maintenance but then again, we need to take the plant out of service."

This comes after the Ekurhuleni Municipality experienced a power outage that affected large parts of Boksburg last week.

The municipality said this was due to the explosion of an incoming circuit breaker from Eskom to Ekurhuleni.

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