South Africans will have to endure another year before the chance of load shedding will decrease significantly, Eskom CEO André de Ruyter said on Wednesday.
De Ruyter spoke at an online seminar of Nedbank on load shedding and what Eskom is doing to combat it.
Things are only going to get worse because Eskom has started “deep” repairs to 11 of its 15 obsolete and unreliable coal-fired power stations.
In this extensive repair work, the entire power station is shut down for two to three months. Parts are replaced to improve reliability.
De Ruyter says he personally appointed a “particularly capable” engineer as head of a special task team to do the extensive repairs. The work, which has already begun, will be completed by August or September 2021.
After that, the risk for load shedding will decrease “significantly”, says De Ruyter.
Eskom has between 11 000 MW and 16 000 MW which is not available at any given time due to unplanned errors. Extensive repairs are needed to prevent this.
De Ruyter says it is one of the legacies of more than a decade of mismanagement that such work has been postponed indefinitely. Towards the end of this, Eskom decided to postpone it further because it followed a philosophy of “avoiding load shedding at all costs”.
Those days are now over, he says.