Eskom Celebrates 50 Days Without Load Shedding but Cautions on Future Challenges

Milestone Achievement

South Africa’s power utility, Eskom, marked a significant milestone on Thursday: 50 consecutive days without load shedding. This has been a welcome relief for citizens and businesses alike, providing a much-needed break from the frequent power outages.

Eskom’s Strategy and Progress

Eskom board chairperson Mteto Nyati spoke to Newzroom Africa, expressing cautious optimism.

  • Celebrate the Milestone: “First, let’s celebrate the 50 days and secondly we are also looking forward as Eskom to another 50 days of (no) load shedding,” Nyati stated.
  • Day-by-Day Approach: He emphasized, “We are taking it one day at a time. We have a generation recovery plan that we have been implementing over the last year and we have another year to go where we can comfortably say load shedding is going to be behind us.”
  • Future Efforts: Nyati acknowledged the ongoing efforts, “We still have another year of working hard, making sure we are safely out of this challenge.”

Public Reception and Election Concerns

The suspension of load shedding has been well-received, but some speculate it’s politically motivated due to the upcoming May 29 general elections. Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has addressed these concerns.

  • Energy Availability Factor (EAF): Ramokgopa reported that Eskom’s EAF has surpassed 70%, a significant improvement.
  • Diesel Usage: Over R53.4 million was spent on diesel for Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGT) last week, used only during peak times to meet high electricity demand.

Continued Vigilance Needed

Also Read:   Eskom's Weekend Load Shedding Schedule: From Intense to Suspended

Nyati stressed that while the situation has improved, challenges remain.

  • Maintenance: “We had a fleet that was highly unreliable. In order for us to say we are safely out of the woods we need to make sure that we touch all of those units and do the proper maintenance,” Nyati explained.
  • Current Reliability: “Right now we have done a sufficient number and that is giving us the reliability that we see now.”

Success of Recovery Plan

On Monday, Eskom reiterated that the current load-shedding-free environment is not due to excessive diesel use but the success of their maintenance program and Generation Operational Recovery Plan, initiated in March last year.

  • EAF Progress: Ramokgopa noted, “The EAF has breached the 70% mark and is currently tracking at 70.78%,” a level not seen since August 2021.
  • Monthly and Yearly Tracking: For the month-to-date, the EAF is at 64.34%, and year-to-date it has reached 59.92%.

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