Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Electricity Supply Situation

Engineering News Online reported in an article published on 18 February 2015 that `Eskom war room fixed with restoring plant availability, but stabilisation could be 30 months off’. It quotes Dr Wolsey Barnard, Acting Director-General of the Department of Energy (DoE), as saying that `There is currently no shortage of electricity capacity in South Africa’ but that `..the availability of the country’s installed base had fallen materially, narrowing the supply-demand balance to the point where Eskom was resorting to rotational load shedding to ensure that an unplanned blackout was avoided.’

He had also revealed that the restoration of plant availability from Eskom’s coal-heavy fleet was currently the main priority of the so-called war room. The war room, which was established by Cabinet in December, included Eskom and government officials, as well as independent energy and project specialists, overseen by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. `A “practical programme” is reported to have been developed to deal with the maintenance backlog, which was directly responsible for the fall in the fleet’s energy availability factor, which had fallen well below the target of around 85% to below 75%. But Barnard also confirmed that, despite the focus being given to maintenance, it could take between 20 and 30 months to reverse the backlog.’

In another article published on 6 February 2015 titled `Sacci proposes radical alternatives to load shedding’, Engineering News Online reported that `The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) on Thursday proposed sweeping measures to tackle the country’s enduring energy crisis, reiterating at a press gathering in Johannesburg that the existing power deficit was “no longer simply an Eskom problem”’.

Among the immediate considerations, claimed to be implementable within three weeks, Sacci members had proposed that load shedding be restricted to residential areas during the day and that municipalities and Eskom adhere strictly to published load shedding schedules.

Copies of the full Engineering News Online articles are available at http://newsletters.creamermedia.co.za/servlet/link/14/66839/141325/1743056 and http://newsletters.creamermedia.co.za/servlet/link/14/66574/141325/1731621 (Source: Creamer Media’s Engineering News at www.engineeringnews.co.za).
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