Carol Paton Writer at Large

It will take Eskom a full two years to restore its plants to an acceptable level of performance, officials told MPs on Wednesday. Eskom’s plants are in a poor state of repair due to postponed or foregone maintenance causing “unplanned outages”, which have constrained the system and brought back the risk of load-shedding. Eskom’s chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer said: “Its not a quick fix; it’s a process but we are very optimistic that we will turn it around.” Oberholzer said he expected plant performance — measured by the amount of electricity available for dispatch or energy availability factor (EAF) — to deteriorate further for the year from its level of 74%. This is significantly lower than in 2017, where the EAF stood at 79%. The target level is 80%. Oberholzer said that entire units at four power stations were on “long-term outage” due to “major incidents”. A second difficulty was “teething problems” at the new units of Medupi and Kusile recently brought on line. Partial ...

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