South Africa: Eskom says power supply remains tight

Eskom11 March 2014, Johannesburg – Eskom CEO Brian Dames has warned that the country’s power supply remains tight.

“We are not out of the woods yet,” Dames said on Tuesday, adding that the country’s system not only remained constrained but also vulnerable to changes.

Last Thursday, the utility declared its fourth electricity emergency since November 2013, followed by load shedding on the same day.

The utility said since load shedding in 2008, it had put several systems in place to respond to unforeseen events, including the introduction of a national emergency centre.

The outgoing CEO urged consumers to use electricity sparingly following load shedding last Thursday.

As the rain continues to fall, wet coal makes it difficult to fuel the country’s power stations. Dames visited the Kendal and Duvha power stations in Mpumalanga on Monday.

Among the reasons for the declaration of the power emergency was that the electricity utility had lost four units at Kendal due to wet weather.

At Duvha, output had been reduced due to the reconstruction of the plant’s coal conveyor belts following a fire in December 2013.

Exports to neighbouring countries have also been reduced, so that the country’s domestic constraints are met.

“We do have supply constraints,” Dames said, adding that the prognosis for the next two months is that power will be constrained.

Dames said Eskom was now in a better situation than it was in 2008 when blackouts were experienced.

Dames, who announced his resignation in December 2013, will leave Eskom at the end of the month. On whether his successor has been appointed, Dames said the utility would make an announcement on the matter at the right time.

Upon his arrival at Eskom in 2010, Dames had wanted to bring stability to the utility. Hard work, he said, has helped to restore confidence in the company.


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