Eskom's system not old and unpredictable - Expert

Energy Expert Chris Yelland says the real problem should not be deflected by the parastatal.

FILE: Construction delays at Medupi and Kusile Power Stations have resulted in almost daily load shedding over the past week. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Energy expert Chris Yelland has rejected Eskom's claims that South Africa's demand for power cannot be met because the utility is running on what they believe is an old and unpredictable system.

On Saturday spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said, "Generally we are running a very old and unpredictable power system and as a result we are not in a position to say how it will look tomorrow."

Earlier today Phasiwe said the power grid is under significant pressure to build up diesel reserves and raise dam water levels for its gas turbines.

Yelland says the real problem should not be deflected by the parastatal and that Medupi and Kusile power stations should have been running five years ago.

"9,600 megawatts should have been on the grid, and as a result of this the reserve margin is very low and every minor problem on the power system, causes a problem. If we had adequate reserve margin, nothing would have been unpredictable, everything would have been under control."

Eskom has admitted the severe strain on the power grid is due to deferred maintenance at its power stations.

But, last week, Eskom denied that there's been a delay with synchronising a unit at the Medupi Power Station.

The country desperately needs additional generating capacity to keep up with the current electricity demand, but there have been construction delays at both the Medupi and Kusile Power Stations.

EE Publishers reported that while one unit at Medupi was supposed to be synchronised with the grid by mid-February, this would now only happen towards the end of March.

Phasiwe denied reports of a delay and insisted synchronisation would happen before the end of March.

Take a look at EWN's feature on how to survive load shedding.

To view load shedding schedules in your area, click here.