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Eskom CEO André de Ruyter. Picture: REUTERS/SUMAYA HISHAM
Eskom CEO André de Ruyter. Picture: REUTERS/SUMAYA HISHAM

Eskom had to bring back stage 2 load-shedding on Monday night after more breakdowns at several power stations.

The power utility also warned of the likelihood that load-shedding may be extended beyond Tuesday morning if it needs to recover emergency capacity or if there are further breakdowns.

“After reasonable recovery over the weekend, during the day [on Monday] we had a significant deterioration in the performance of our generation system, losing a number of units and also increasing partial load losses,” Eskom CEO André de Ruyter said during a media conference on Monday night.

After this latest round of load-shedding, De Ruyter said Eskom would take action against certain members of power station management.

“We are not satisfied at all with the performance of some of our senior executives and we will implement sanctions against [those] individuals concerned,” he said.

De Ruyter would not say at which power stations the so-called consequence management would be implemented, saying the affected employees need to be informed before further information can be made available to the public.

“We are not going to be tolerating poor performance and we will take appropriate action against underperforming people who do not live up to their duty to Eskom and to 60-million South Africans,” De Ruyter said.

One Eskom executive said that feedback received from some of the power station managers was not always reliable.

According to Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer, the feedback from station managers on Monday morning was that the power generation system would recover and there would be little need to make use of emergency generation, but then during the day there were seven new breakdowns.

Eskom said generation units had broken down at Camden, Duvha and Matla power stations, while two of the four commercial generation units at Kusile are not running, and there were delays in bringing two units at Majuba power station back on load since last week. This resulted in 16,000MW of unplanned unavailable capacity on Monday.

“While we do have a challenge in terms of system unreliability and unpredictability, we do also have a significant challenge with human capital,” he said.

Oberholzer said that Duvha power station in eMalahleni, which had 3,600MW of installed capacity, was not generating any power on Monday afternoon, “contrary to feedback that was received earlier from station management.

“A significant coal challenge” was adding to generation problems at Majuba power station in Mpumalanga. No coal was being fed to the power station after two conveyor belts and a manual feeder had broken down. In addition, Transnet had failed to honour its coal delivery commitments. Referring to the situation at Majuba, Oberholzer said they had found a challenge in terms of experience and skills, and of “really understanding the urgency [of the problem]".

South Africans were assured, however, that the lights would remain on at the Cape Town City Hall on Thursday night when President Cyril Ramaphosa will present the state of the nation address.

De Ruyter said Eskom could not guarantee that there would be no load-shedding during the president’s address.

However, in collaboration with the City of Cape Town, Eskom would ensure there would be no power interruptions at the venue during, or in the time leading up to, the address to ensure that there would be no disruptions to the proceedings.

erasmusd@businesslive.co.za

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