Yesterday, Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona issued an apology to South Africans on behalf of the power utility for the inconvenience caused by loadshedding over the past few weeks. According to Eskom, a number of strategies are in place to help the situation, including a system recovery plan issued on its website.
System recovery plans are generally meant to make sure certain areas (or the entire country) are not plunged into darkness by massive blackouts and that there’s enough electricity for lengthy periods while Eskom works on resolving the problem completely.
Eskom says it will implement the following six point plan to improve sustainability:
To bring new base load and peaking power station units on line, on time and within budget.
Plant maintenance – Effectively execute maintenance plans to return plants to desired performance levels.
According to Eskom, plant availability has negatively decreased from 85% to 75% over the last five years, because of various reasons including delaying critical maintenance in the past and the deterioration of plant maintenance quality.
Major incidents – Safely and speedily return plants, such as Duvha Unit 3 and Majuba coal handling plant, to service.
In March this year, the Duvha power station in Witbank lost 600MW of power generation after one of its boilers exploded, adding pressure to the national grid. Later on in November, a silo at the Majuba power station collapsed, causing mass power failures around some parts of the country.
DSM and energy efficiency – A need to reintroduce the demand side management programme to lower demand in the country.
The demand side management programme (DSM) is a financial incentive programme that was approved by the National Energy Regulator in May 2004 but had to be shelved this year due to financial constraints. The programme was aimed at promoting more energy-efficient innovative, processes and behaviours among all electricity consumers.
Through the programme, Eskom would fund viable load management projects and contribute 50% towards viable energy efficiency projects. You can read more about that, here.
Load shedding schedule improvements – Bridge the gap with municipalities to ensure alignment and thereby predictability.
Eskom has received numerous complaints from the public about unexpected loadshedding that didn’t follow the municipality schedules it provided on its website, social media accounts and the MyEskom app.
“In this regard schedules are reviewed on a daily basis and where possible corrections are implemented overnight,” Eskom says.
Energy conservation programme – It is critical that the country revisits the option of introducing a national energy conservation programme.
For the last few years, Eskom has been pushing government for the introduction of a mandatory energy conservation programme that would force its 500 biggest energy consumers who account for most of the energy consumption in South Africa, to save electricity, but was meant for reluctance from industrial corporates
“Our responsibility is to ensure that we do not compromise the power system: Therefore we will continue to safe-guard and protect South Africa’s power system and will implement load shedding if absolutely necessary,” Eskom says.
You can read the full report on Eskom’s website.