Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has blamed Eskom’s generation fleet for the upsurge in load shedding.
PUBLIC Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has blamed Eskom’s generation fleet for the upsurge in load shedding, saying the power utility was unreliable and unpredictable.
Gordhan said there has also been insufficient investment in maintenance as the state-owned enterprise prioritised the build programme as a result of inadequate capacity.
“Lack of maintenance of coal plants is resulting in high unplanned plant breakdowns that are causing load shedding in the country. Medupi and Kusile power stations have not been performing in line with the design specifications due to design latent defects,” he said.
Gordhan was responding to parliamentary questions from EFF MP Omphile Maotwe, who asked the reason for the recent upsurge in load shedding and whether the Eskom leadership has the expertise to lead the entity to stability and ensure a sustainable energy supply for the country.
On Monday, Eskom said that although the power system had recovered sufficiently, load shedding could be required at short notice should there be breakdowns at its generation units after it suspended load shedding over the weekend.
This happened as generation executive Philip Rhulani is set to leave the entity at the end of the month, citing the need to balance his health, family and work responsibilities.
Gordhan said the power utility was currently implementing a generation recovery plan that focused on implementing a reliability maintenance recovery programme, fixing Medupi and Kusile design defects, reduction of full load losses and partial load losses, and leadership at the power stations.
He also said the current Eskom leadership has been given a difficult task of restoring the organisation and they required as much support from all as possible.
The minister said the government was strengthening the board in order to augment especially its technical capability.
“The operational leadership at Eskom has been strengthened with some of the power station managers that have distinguished themselves in the past being brought back.
“Government continuously assesses the skill gaps at Eskom and, amongst others, multinational organisations with their unique position of providing assistance to governments with similar predicaments are being engaged to assist with technical support.”