Eskom’s system outlook tight despite plant maintenance

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Eskom is progressing well with the maintenance of its power generating plant whilst supplying the country’s electricity needs, but cautioned that its system outlook was tight.

The utility said: "As winter approaches and the temperatures gradually drop‚ Eskom’s power generation system’s resilience is frequently being tested. The hard work that the various Eskom teams continue to put in is slowly bearing fruit‚ with no load shedding being implemented for over eight months now."

Delivering her department’s budget vote speech this week‚ Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown commended Eskom for ensuring an uninterrupted supply of electricity to the country.

"Today we can say we’re very proud‚ it’s almost nine months without load shedding. They’ve kept the lights on and load shedding has become a distant memory‚" Ms Brown said.

The usage of open-cycle gas turbines for the week was 0.3% while the average usage for the month to date is 0.38%. "We remain committed to using OCGTs as a measure of last resort‚" Eskom’s statement said.

The electricity provider said its winter plan formally kicked off on 1 April 2016 and runs until the end of August 2016.

"As a result‚ we have already started to ramp down planned maintenance and ramp up energy availability for the expected winter peak so that we will have sufficient capacity to meet demand whilst we still conduct the required maintenance on our power station units.

"This long weekend a number of generating units will be taken offline for maintenance to ensure that they are ready and available this winter."

Eskom’s planned maintenance for the week averaged 5‚200 MW‚ while unplanned outages were at 4‚500 MW.

"The system outlook for next week is forecast to be very tight as the cold weather conditions begin to set in. We urge our customers to continue using electricity sparingly at all times."