Power cuts continues while Eskom upgrades aging power plants infrastructure

Eskom says while the power system remains vulnerable, the power utility has no alternative but to continue with the rolling power-outage than abandon the aging power plant’s infrastructure maintenance.

Eskom Chief Operating Officer, Jan Oberholzer said the power system remaining vulnerable and volatile with the risk of load-shedding will reduce after completing the reliability maintenance by September 2021.

“The unreliability of the obsolete infrastructure, with an uncertainty of 6,000 MW capacity at a time, will persist until the reliability maintenance program can address the historical maintenance backlog.

“Recovering the operational performance is our top preference, and we will not compromise on reliability, maintenance, and mid-life restoration,” said Oberholzer.

But Eskom is making remarkable improvements in the recovery of its operating performance while generating recovery and reliability maintenance programmes produce the required result.

Despite the first challenges posed by the COVID-19 lockdown, Employees have maintained high levels of maintenance, with planned maintenance, increasing to between 5,500 MW and 7,000 MW or 12%.

“While Eskom employees made efforts to improve generation plant, we’re not where we supposed to be in terms of performance.

The goal is to improve performance to reduce the risk of load-shedding. We cannot exaggerate these enormous tasks,” said Eskom Group CEO André de Ruyter.

The construction program is progressing, with Kusile Unit 2 achieving commercial operation on October 29, 2020, adding 720 MW to the national grid.

Kusile Unit 3 and Medupi Unit 1 is on track to achieve commercial operation over the next several weeks and months.

Medupi Unit 1 added to the national grid will bring the number of units in commercial operation at the power plant to Unit 6, showing a complete construction project.

The availability and reliability of bringing Medupi Units into the grid are showing steady improvement.

The Koeberg nuclear power plant continues to run and within the expected safety limits, and at the lowest primary energy cost of the bracelet stations.

While Unit 1 is now in a refueling and maintenance outage, Unit 2 is generating electricity for the grid.

But, said Eskom Executives grid overload related to the high level of illegal connections remains a concern.

Eskom said the power utility will continue implementing load reduction during peak hours.

“The ongoing infrastructure theft and vandalism also continue to affect operations, increasing the risk of power outages to customers,” said Eskom Executives.

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