In recent times, South Africa has been caught in the throes of constant load-shedding. But now, a glimpse of light breaks through as Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa heralds what he terms a “significant stride” for the nation.
Steps Forward, But Still a Path to Traverse
Minister Ramokgopa, while updating the nation on the Energy Action Plan, expressed a tempered optimism. “We have turned a corner,” he mentioned, but quickly added, “We are not out of the woods.”
Despite the persistent load-shedding, he underlined the psychological impact of an uninterrupted day of power. “The fact that you can go for a day, whether it’s a weekend or a weekday, without load-shedding… It’s a major victory.”
Navigating the Maintenance Challenge
A significant takeaway from the minister’s briefing was Eskom’s strategic approach to maintenance. As winter’s heightened demand subsided, the power utility capitalized on the opportunity to ramp up its planned maintenance – a commendable 2,000MW uptick since May 2023.
Eskom’s proactive approach involves reducing maintenance during peak winter periods, transitioning to more intensive work as seasons warm and demand wanes.
The Winter Projection: What’s in Store?
Pulling data from Eskom’s logs, planned maintenance oscillated from a low 2,269MW to a zenith of 4,524MW through the chilly months. But here’s the bright spot: Ramokgopa highlighted, “the fact that we are taking out an additional 2,000MW without the degradation of the intensity of load-shedding; I think this is something to be welcomed.”
With the winter demand average dropping from 31,000MW in May 2023 to around 27,000MW, Eskom finds room to bolster maintenance of its generating units. This strategic move, Ramokgopa believes, will manifest in more reliable power during upcoming demanding periods.
“As we approach the next winter,” Ramokgopa noted with a hint of assurance, “we shouldn’t be witnessing the acute intensity of load-shedding we’ve grown accustomed to.”
Sharpening the Outage Slip Focus
While Eskom’s journey to optimal performance is ongoing, the utility’s concentrated focus on outage slips is commendable. The minister proudly cited an improvement from an average of 3,400MW down to a current 1,100MW.