Red card for Eskom
Fifa prefers ‘more reliable’ generator power
ELECTRICITY GENERATOR Eskom has earned itself a red card from the organising body even before the first 2010 soccer world cup game kicks off next year.
The Federation of International Football Associations (Fifa) has excluded Eskom from its preparation plans after it instructed the Local Organising Committee (LOC) to prepare generator power or what it terms ‘technical power’ for match venues during the World Cup.
That appears to be a vote of no confidence in Eskom’s ability to keep the lights on during the soccer spectacle, as the power shortages early last year and subsequent “load shedding” brought economic activity to its knees and shut down mining companies for a week.
Not so, according to LOC CE Danny Jordaan.
“It was a requirement from Fifa that all match venues use technical power,” Jordaan told Finweek at the recent Tourism Indaba in Durban. “It’s not the LOC’s lack of confidence in Eskom; it has nothing to do with Eskom.” Jordaan said Fifa had also used technical power during the 2006 event in Germany.
Jordaan’s sentiments were echoed by Johannesburg 2010 Project Officer Sibongile Mazibuko: “Fifa (only) works with generators. Training venues and match stadiums will be run on generators.”
Whether or not the decision to use diesel and generator power is a sign of Fifa’s confidence in Eskom’s ability to keep the lights on, a factor that has to be considered is the cost of diesel power relative to conventional electricity.
South Africa’s electricity is still one of the world’s cheapest (when available) while the demand for alternative power sources has driven up the price of generators significantly.
A generator to power up a 55 000sq m office park can cost around R17m.
“The cost has to be balanced against the risk of failure,” said Pan African Investments’ CE Iraj Abedian when asked for an opinion on diesel power. “What would be the cost if the event failed because there’s no power?”