Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Eskom has appointed a technical review team, which will look at the operations, maintenance and technical environment at the ailing utility’s power stations, the department of public enterprises announced on Monday. 

The 11-person team, made up of industry specialists which includes academic, engineering and power systems professionals, will review Eskom’s power stations within four weeks of commencement of their work, spokesman Adrian Lackay said. 

It will be led by two co-ordinators, Tsakani Mthombeni, who is already a member of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Eskom task team, and  Ian Morrison.

Last month Eskom, which has struggled with maintenance issues and design flaws at its poorly constructed power stations, Medupi and Kusile, had to resort to load-shedding as it could not meet demand.

During his budget speech in February finance minister Tito Mboweni announced that government will support Eskom with R23bn a year for three years, rising to R150bn over 10 years to shore up the utility’s balance sheet.

He said the government support will be subject to the implementation of a tough restructuring plan, including splitting the company into three parts.

Lackay said public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan, Eskom board chairman Jabu Mabuza and CEO Phakamani Radebe met the newly appointed technical review team on Monday.

He said the review team would examine plant unavailability due to scheduled maintenance; plant unavailability due to unplanned outages and unscheduled maintenance; operator errors resulting in power plants tripping and shutting down; and technical and operator-associated inefficiencies resulting in lower than optimum electricity output from the power station units.

Radebe would facilitate the work of the team by allocating up to three technical, operating and engineering personnel to  assist with access and information collection.

Lackay said the team would report to Gordhan and a technical subcommittee of the Eskom board.

It is expected to meet again on Friday to develop the methodology and work programme and would formally begin executing its mandate on March 11, 2019.

The other nine members of the technical review team are: Seeralan Chinaboo, Khumo Morolo, Gladman Mkwai, Robbie van Heerden, Sibuyela Sishuba, Walter Schmitz, Vitesh Maharaj, Lwazi Goqwana and Phindile Mooketsi.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za and phakathib@businesslive.co.za