Util­ity as­sures SA lights will stay on

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - BALD­WIN NDABA

ESKOM has as­sured South Africans they will never ever again ex­pe­ri­ence load- shed­ding and lights would be on dur­ing the cold win­ter sea­son and be­yond.

The power util­ity was re­act­ing to con­cerns of res­i­dents, par­tic­u­larly, those liv­ing in Johannesburg suburbs and sur­round­ing ar­eas, who ex­pe­ri­enced a se­ries of power out­ages since last month.

Ar­eas mostly af­fected were Wel­tevre­den Park, Dis­cov­ery, Con­stan­tia Kloof, Ont­dekkers Park, Honey­dew, Laser Park, Hori­zon View, Wil­ge­heuwel, Strubens Val­ley, Ruim­sig, Helderkruin, Rood­ekrans and Ramosa.

Most of them com­plained that City Power, a power util­ity for the City of Joburg, failed to timeously warn them about the out­ages, a claim the power util­ity de­nies. It was adamant that the power out­ages, which are likely to con­tinue un­til the end of June, were hap­pen­ing with the aim of al­low­ing the city to ex­e­cute main­te­nance and/or emer­gency du­ties to cor­rect de­fects in the net­work so that it func­tioned at “its max­i­mum po­ten­tial”.

De­spite the ex­pla­na­tion, these res­i­dents were not con­vinced, and some of them at­tacked the City of Joburg via so­cial me­dia.

Other parts of Gaut­eng also ex­pe­ri­enced power out­ages and some cases led to ac­ci­dents on the roads due to dys­func­tional traf­fic lights.

Their anger in­ten­si­fied af­ter re­ports this week in­di­cated that Eskom chair­per­son Ben Ngubane had in­sin­u­ated that the coun­try was likely to have a re­peat of the dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects of the 2008 load-shed­ding if Eskom was not al­lowed to buy more coal, an al­le­ga­tion, the paras­tatal has de­nied ve­he­mently.

Eskom spokesper­son Khulu Phasiwe de­nied the re­ports. He said Ngubane was mis­quoted, say­ing what he meant was that if the power util­ity was not al­lowed by national trea­sury to en­ter into con­tracts to buy coal, it could in the fu­ture re­sult in the coun­try ex­pe­ri­enc­ing load­shed­ding.

Ngubane made the re­marks while ap­pear­ing be­fore the parliamentary stand­ing com­mit­tee of public ac­counts (Scopa) along­side axed chief ex­ec­u­tive, Brian Molefe.

“The chair­per­son never said we will have load-shed­ding this year.

“He was merely rais­ing con­cerns about the lack of sur­plus coal in four of our coal-fired

‘Our wish is that

power sta­tions in the coun­try. We have a to­tal of 13 coal-fired power sta­tions.

“Out of the 13, four have ad­e­quate coal in it. We need to en­sure that they have sur­plus coal es­pe­cially dur­ing this win­ter.

“Ngubane was demon­strat­ing how im­por­tant it was for all power sta­tions to have sur­plus coal, es­pe­cially dur­ing this pe­riod of win­ter,” Phasiwe said.

He said peo­ple should not panic be­cause nine of the coal power sta­tions have ad­e­quate and sur­plus coal say­ing “our wish is that all coal power sta­tions have enough coal, as well as sur­plus coal”.

“In ad­di­tion to the 13 coal sta­tions, we have opened the sec­ond unit of Koe­berg Power Sta­tion which would be able to gen­er­ate 1 800 megawatts of elec­tric­ity. This would fur­ther in­crease the ca­pac­ity of our sta­tions by gen­er­at­ing more units of elec­tric­ity,” Phasiwe

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