Eskom: Low chance of load shedding

The parastatal says it managed to improve the performance of its generation fleet.

Eskom's Grootvlei Power Station. Picture: Eskom.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom says the risk for load shedding remains low for the weekend.

The utility implemented rolling blackouts for three consecutive weekends due to limited generating capacity and several problems at power plants.

The parastatal says it managed to improve the performance of its generation fleet during the course of the week and gas turbines are about 50 percent full.

Several key units returned from maintenance this week, which stabilised the system to some degree.

Eskom spokesperson Andrew Etzinger said, "The grid is stable and there's a low probability for load shedding on Friday. There might be a slightly higher chance of load shedding for the weekend."

The utility has also been instructed to release a detailed financial report to Cabinet this month to show how it will cope next year in keeping the country's lights on.

Eskom Chief Executive Officer Tshediso Matona this week urged South Africans to start planning their lives and businesses around load shedding because it's the reality for the foreseeable future.

Political analysts say Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa's recent appointment to help save three state-owned entities is a clear indication of government's confidence in him.

During a post-cabinet briefing in Pretoria yesterday, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe announced that Ramaphosa will oversee the turnaround of Eskom, South African Airways and the Post Office.

Analyst Sipho Seepe said, "This level of confidence didn't seem to exist between Jacob Zuma and Kgalema Motlanthe, so this is a statement to say I trust this man."

Independent analyst Somadoda Fikeni says officials are grooming Ramaphosa for the Presidency.

"If the projects do well, it will put him in a stronger position for succession."

CAPE TO DEVELOP ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SUPPLIES

The City of Cape Town says it will develop alternative energy supplies so it can reduce its reliance on Eskom as the main supplier of power.

Executive Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson says the current load shedding has shaken the confidence of many consumers.

Council executives held an emergency meeting with Eskom on Friday to ask why, in spite of efforts to conserve energy, the city is still affected by load shedding.

Neilson says the council wants to diversify its energy sources.

"We'll have to wait and see what companies are offering but all indications are that natural gas supply is not an expensive system."