JOHANNESBURG: Eskom is not facing a generation crisis nor is the power utility burdened with maintenance.
Former Eskom head of generation and acting CEO, Matshela Koko, has refuted claims that the power utility has generation capacity problem as the country experience load shedding. Koko’s statement comes hot on the heels of South Africans experiencing day four of load shedding, which Eskom blames on poor generation capacity and maintenance.
Speaking to a Johannesburg based talk radio, Power FM on Wednesday, Koko said, “First of all I think it’s proper to say that there is no generation capacity problem that we face in South Africa.”
“South Africa has enough installed capacity, as a matter of fact, the regulation expects Eskom to have a reserve capacity of 19% and Eskom has 23% of reserve capacity. There is enough reserve capacity in the system.
“There is more than enough capacity to do the maintenance and to keep the lights on,” he adds.
Yesterday, the department of public enterprises officials told the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises that the country’s embattled power utility, Eskom, is “technically insolvent” and will cease to exist at the current trajectory by April 2019.
DPE officials say if the power utility doesn’t get a capital injection it will go under in three months’ time.
Moreover, the darkness that South Africans are experiencing through load shedding is likely to last for at least the next two months, according to the department.
However, Koko believes the problem today is that “Eskom’s performance is so unpredictable that even the best at Eskom can’t tell you what will happen tomorrow”. He said the infrastructure of Eskom is 37 years old.
“In engineering terms, this is not a train smash, as long as you match it with the associated maintenance regime,” he said.
He says that maintenance is not a good enough excuse for load shedding.
“I don’t believe the maintenance regime at Eskom today is as disciplined to suit the aging infrastructure that Eskom has,” he concludes.