Hard work at Eskom keeps the lights on

20 May 2024 | SANews


Minister in the Presidency for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, says the current improved electricity performance in South Africa is in large part thanks to the hard work of officials at Eskom.

The Minister was briefing the media at Megawatt Park today on the latest developments in the implementation of the Energy Action Plan which was unveiled by President Cyril Ramaphosa in July 2022.

The country has experienced at least 54 days of no load shedding.

What we are seeing now is an exceptionally improved energy situation…is as a result of [a] constellation of efforts on the part of Eskom. It’s [also] an all-of-government effort to ensure that we resolve the challenges that are facing the country…the resolution of an energy deficit.

“We are not yet out of the woods but we can see the trend line. We know that we are going to have momentary setbacks. It is the nature of this, but we must be fixed on…returning units on time. And where there are periods of failure, you mustn’t be despondent,” he said.



Ramokgopa moved to dispel the reports claiming that Eskom is burning diesel at a high rate to keep the lights on.

“The [Open Cycle Gas Turbines] are part of the fleet. They are designed…that during afternoon peak, when you have elevated demand, if you are struggling to meet that demand then you engage the OCGTs.

“If you look at the period that they were on load on average was previously about 17% and then now, we are just shy of 6%. So it’s a considerable drop on the usage. From the 1st of April 2024 to the 16th of May, Eskom spent R1.24 billion in engaging the OCGTs. The same period last year…we had burnt R5.2 billion worth of diesel. Essentially, we have seen a drop of 78%,” he said.

Ramokgopa said solar energy remains part of the strategy to combat load shedding and Eskom’s performance is not necessarily as a result of the performance of the renewable energy projects.

“If you go to the Energy Action Plan and you look at Outcome 4, it says…we have to introduce incentives to make it possible for us to aggressively roll out rooftop solar solutions by both industry and households. We have been able to double the amount of rooftop solar solution megawatts that can be drawn from that intervention from about 2100MW to 4400MW,” he said.

Turning to Eskom employees, the Minister encouraged them to continue working hard to ensure that the challenge of keeping the lights on is resolved.

“As consummate professionals, you have done very well to get us to where we are. We are still looking for additional improved performance on your side. On behalf of Cabinet, we want to say thank you very much,” Ramokgopa said.


 

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