SOUTH AFRICAN POWER UTILITY ESKOM PROMISES NO LOAD SHEDDING THIS WINTER

National power utility Eskom has promised there will be no load-shedding in South Africa this year.

The power utility says there be will be no load shedding for the 2016 winter and summer season, Eskom chief executive officer Brian Molefe told the media here Thursday, adding that energy availability has increased from 70 per cent in October 2015 to 76 per cent in April this year.

Eskom says an additional 3,279 megawatts (MW) has been added to the national grid through the commissioning of the Medupi power plant as well as through reduced breakdowns.

The power utility says it is facing some challenges as it currently has to add an additional 11,000 MW between 2 am and 6 pm this (Southern Hemisphere) winter with demand starting to peak.

Molefe said: "Demand for electricity increases from about 2 am (22,000 MW) to 6 pm (34,000 MW) after 6 pm demand for power drops drastically."

He also disclosed that Eskom's electricity sales had been successful particularly to other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries.

"We are selling electricity to countries in the southern African region. Demand for electricity varies and when demand for power decreases we then shut down some of the machines (for maintenance)."

Molefe said the power utility would continue to use diesel forgeneration despite the high cost.

"The use of diesel has decreased as a result of improved generation availability. The costs have reduced from 854 million Rand in October to 25 million Rand in April," he added.

"The usage of diesel may increase if we experience problems with plant breakdowns. But we think that there is an option available to us and we will make sure that if we really, really have to switch them on to avoid load shedding the diesel will be available. It will come at a cost but we think it's a cost we will absorb."

Eskom, which is battling a shortfall in generating capacity, was forced to implement electricity blackouts in the first half of last year, affecting economic activity. However, power supply for the utility has gradually been improving since then.

Source: Nam News Network

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