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Eskom's winter plan aims to limit load shedding

The acting CEO says Eskom performed much better than it had predicted at the beginning of the year.

A screengrab of Eskom CEO Brian Molefe briefing the country on the utility's winter plan on 17 June 2015.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom's acting CEO Brian Molefe says the utility wants to ramp up maintenance work this winter and limit load shedding.

Molefe, who was appointed to the position just two months ago, provided an update on Eskom's achievements and plans over the next few months.

He said Eskom had performed much better than it had predicted at the beginning of the year.

But he did not put up a calendar showing the high risk days of when load shedding is likely, because he feels the team will be able to outperform their predictions.

While evening peak hours remains a high risk for rolling blackouts, Molefe says this is because winter is expected to be colder than last year.

The load shedding stages have also been amended slightly - meaning the country will move into stage 3 when Eskom needs to shed 3,000 MW and no longer 4,000 MW.

The acting boss said this in line with the company's vision of achieving an 80 percent plant availability, 10 percent planned maintenance and 10 percent unplanned maintenance in the next three years.

Molefe emphasised that generally the utility supplies electricity to 96% of the country and will continue to do so during the winter.

Eskom intends to do maintenance with limited load shedding. pic.twitter.com/EGRq1NjJUH

In Winter, more electricity is used during the morning and evening peak periods. See Summer and Winter Load Profile: pic.twitter.com/IMRybjhgb4

During Eskom's Quarterly State of the System Repor t at its headquarters in Johannesburg, Molefe also assured that there's no prospect of a blackout in South Africa.

#Eskom Molefe: there will not be a blackout. the build programme is our ticket out of Load Shedding. GN

  • EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) June 17, 2015 He took over from Tshediso Matona who was suspended earlier this year, and then resigned following the launch of a probe into the company.

This month, Eskom managed to bring on two more units to the national grid, one from Koeberg and one from Medupi, but it has still battled with electricity consumption with load shedding being implemented on a regular basis.

Eskom has consistently warned that the power system is expected to remain constrained for at least the next two years and that balancing supply and demand during this period would be particularly difficult.

Molefe urged all electricity users to continue using electricity sparingly in order to allow Eskom enough space to continue with the requisite maintenance.

Molefe also defended the parastatal's application for a further tariff hike, saying it needs to keep the lights on.

Molefe says the latest tariff hike request is based on a number of factors, one of them being an available budget to keep buying diesel.

Eskom uses diesel generators when the power system is constrained in order to keep the lights on and avoid load shedding.

Molefe says purchasing diesel is cheaper than implementing load shedding, which has a major impact on the economy.

He also says the plan for this winter is to ramp up maintenance work and limit load shedding especially during business hours.

Eskom has applied for a 25.3 percent hike, including a 12 percent price increase which has already been approved.

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has indicated that even if this is approved, it will only be implemented in the next financial year.

To read Molefe's full statement, _ click here_.

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