http://www.polity.org.za
Deepening Democracy through Access to Information
Home / Opinion / Real Economy RSS ← Back
Africa|Business|Energy|Eskom|Flow|IPPs|Power|Projects|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|Africa|South Africa|Electricity|Electricity Situa- Tion|Electricity War Room|Energy Advisory Panel|Flow|Maintenance|Renewable-energy And Conventional Generation|Anton Eberhard|Cyril Ramaphosa|2010 World Cup
Africa|Business|Energy|Eskom|Flow|Power|Projects|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|Africa||Flow|Maintenance|||
africa-company|business|energy|eskom|flow-company|ipps|power|projects|renewable-energy|renewable-energy-company|africa|south-africa|electricity|electricity-situa--tion|electricity-war-room|energy-advisory-panel|flow-industry-term|maintenance|renewable-energy-and-conventional-generation|anton-eberhard|cyril-ramaphosa|2010-world-cup-sports-event
Close

Email this article

separate emails by commas, maximum limit of 4 addresses

Verification Image. Please refresh the page if you cannot see this image.

Sponsored by

Close

Article Enquiry

Is there a plan?

Verification Image. Please refresh the page if you cannot see this image.
Close

Embed Video

2

Is there a plan?

25th September 2015

By: Terence Creamer
Creamer Media Editor

SAVE THIS ARTICLE      EMAIL THIS ARTICLE

Font size: -+

There has been scant information flow out of South Africa’s electricity war room, which was set up in December to deal with the country’s power crisis. It was interesting, therefore, to hear a recent report back from Professor Anton Eberhard, who has access to the war room by virtue of his appointment to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s energy advisory panel. The war room falls under Cabinet’s Inter-Ministerial Committee on Energy, chaired by the Deputy President.

Eberhard acknowledged the commonly held belief that “government didn’t have a plan to fix electricity, or, if it did, it wasn’t being implemented”. However, he described this view as a misconception, arguing that a plan had indeed been developed to improve the electricity situa- tion; that the plan was well understood within both government and Eskom; and that implementation was very much under way.

Advertisement

Many of the immediate areas of redress fell under Eskom’s area of responsibility, with the utility being directed to accelerate efforts to add new capacity, while improving the performance of the existing plant.

Here, the utility was being aided on the demand side by a decline in consumption, with overall demand about 1 000 MW lower in 2015 than was the case in 2014 and about 3 000 MW below 2007 levels.

Advertisement

This decline was partly the result of structural changes in the way mines and heavy industry, in particular, consumed electricity as they adapted to both supply instability, as well as to what had been a 300% tariff shock in less than ten years.

However, it was also largely the result of the weak economic climate and business confidence, which had, in turn, been affected negatively by the inadequate supply of electricity and more than 100 days of load-shedding since November last year.

For this reason, the plan continued to emphasise the addition of new capacity through delivery on Eskom’s R250-billion programme to build 11 000 MW of new generation capacity through projects such as Medupi, Kusile and Ingula. In parallel, priority was also being given to ensuring the introduction of renewable-energy and conventional generation from independent power producers (IPPs).

The second major component of the plan related to power station maintenance, which was viewed as critical to improving the performance of the existing fleet. There was still much scepticism about Eskom’s performance in this area, with some observers concerned that the relative supply stability since mid-August harked back to the pre-2010 World Cup days, when maintenance was deferred in favour of keeping the lights on. However, Eberhard insisted that this was not the case: “It’s pleasing to announce that Eskom is not compromising on its maintenance – the maintenance levels were quite high even through the last winter.”

But greater efforts were required to bolster complementary supply through baseload IPPs and Eberhard was optimistic that progress was being made through the Department of Energy’s IPP Office, which had set up “extraordinary capabilities and professional competence to contract with IPPs”.

But Eberhard stressed that the plan did not begin and end with the immediate crisis and that the war room was also beginning to investigate longer-term structural issues.

“It’s not the private participation that is necessarily the big issue – maybe it’s not even competition that is the big issue. But some kind of unbundling could deliver real performance improvements,” Eberhard mused, again flagging the possible virtues in separating Eskom ‘generation’ and ‘wires’ business.

EMAIL THIS ARTICLE      SAVE THIS ARTICLE

To subscribe email subscriptions@creamermedia.co.za or click here
To advertise email advertising@creamermedia.co.za or click here

Comment Guidelines

About

Polity.org.za is a product of Creamer Media.
www.creamermedia.co.za

Other Creamer Media Products include:
Engineering News
Mining Weekly
Research Channel Africa

Read more

Subscriptions

We offer a variety of subscriptions to our Magazine, Website, PDF Reports and our photo library.

Subscriptions are available via the Creamer Media Store.

View store

Advertise

Advertising on Polity.org.za is an effective way to build and consolidate a company's profile among clients and prospective clients. Email advertising@creamermedia.co.za

View options
Free daily email newsletter Register Now