Lo­ad shed­ding re­mains a pos­si­bi­li­ty

Mossel Bay Advertiser - - News - Sour­ce: SA­news.gov.za

Lo­ad shed­ding can­not be ru­led out for the re­main­der of the y­e­ar.

Ac­cor­ding to a go­vern­ment com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons sta­te­ment, a Ni­ne Point Plan is set to go a long way in tur­ning the for­tu­nes of E­s­kom a­round at a ti­me w­hen the u­ti­li­ty is fa­cing ma­jor chal­len­ges, its group chief exe­cu­ti­ve of­fi­cer P­ha­ka­ma­ni Ha­de­be said.

“E­s­kom has un­der­go­ne trying ti­mes, du­ring the past cou­ple of y­e­ars and it’s up to us tho­se who ha­ve the pri­vi­le­ge to work at E­s­kom to do their le­vel best to bring t­his in­sti­tu­ti­on w­he­re it be­longs,” he said.

No e­a­sy task

“The jour­ney is not going to be e­a­sy to turn the in­sti­tu­ti­on a­round,” said Ha­de­be, who was ap­poin­ted to the top post on a per­ma­nent ba­sis in May. Ha­de­be said “pain­ful” de­ci­si­ons ha­ve to be ta­ken going for­ward, ad­ding that w­hi­le the­se de­ci­si­ons ha­ve to be ta­ken, t­his does not “exo­ne­ra­te us from so­me of the de­ci­si­ons we’ve ma­de”.

The Ni­ne Point Plan is ai­med at ad­dres­sing pres­sing chal­len­ges at the u­ti­li­ty, in­clu­ding fix­ing full lo­ad los­ses and trips, fix­ing co­al stock-pi­les is­su­es, ad­dres­sing chal­len­ges at new plants as well as fix­ing u­nits on long­term for­ced outa­ges, a­mong ot­hers.

Dis­tri­bu­ti­on and trans­mis­si­on

On the dis­tri­bu­ti­on and trans­mis­si­on mat­ter, E­s­kom is fa­cing se­ve­re chal­len­ges in­clu­ding the de­te­ri­o­ra­ti­on of co­al po­wer sta­ti­ons and co­al stock-pi­les.

Cur­rent­ly 10 po­wer sta­ti­ons ha­ve less than 20-day co­al stock­pi­les. “That’s a chal­len­ge; we’ve ma­de an ef­fort in chan­ging the sta­tus quo, but we ha­ven’t re­a­ched a le­vel w­he­re the si­tu­a­ti­on is to­tal­ly dif­fe­rent,” said Ha­de­be.

W­hi­le the cau­ses of the­se chal­len­ges are in­he­rent, so­me of the chal­len­ges ex­pe­rien­ced “hap­pe­ned in our midst”.

With less than a­de­qua­te stock-pi­les, the u­ti­li­ty has had to re­ly mo­re on O­pen Cy­cle Gas Tur­bi­ne (OCGTs). “The ma­ni­fe­sta­ti­on is that the EAF (e­ner­gy a­vai­la­bi­li­ty fac­tor) for fi­nan­ci­al y­e­ar 2018 is 74.2% - that is not a­de­qua­te. We need 75% to be a­de­qua­te.”

Lo­ad shed­ding and main­te­nan­ce

The cur­rent sy­stem is not op­ti­mal, he said, ad­ding that lo­ad shed­ding can­not be ru­led out for the re­main­der of the y­e­ar. E­s­kom has ur­ged the pu­blic to use e­lec­tri­ci­ty spa­ringly o­ver peak ti­mes.

Re­gar­ding main­te­nan­ce, the u­ti­li­ty said plan­ned main­te­nan­ce will in­cre­a­se to a­round 9% at the end of the y­e­ar. “That is de­li­be­ra­te, we need to spend mo­re ti­me on main­te­nan­ce. Un­plan­ned main­te­nan­ce is cur­rent­ly sit­ting at 15.7% and that is high. T­his is one a­rea that needs spe­ci­al at­ten­ti­on that we can fo­cus on if we are to en­s­u­re that the South A­fri­can e­co­nomy grows and is sus­tai­na­ble,” said Ha­de­be.

The po­wer u­ti­li­ty is al­so keen to ad­dress fix par­ti­al lo­ad los­ses.

O­ver the next 12 to 24 mont­hs, E­s­kom has set a bud­get ca­pex (ca­pi­tal ex­pen­di­tu­re) of R8.2 bil­li­on. If do­ne well it is ex­pected to re­du­ce much un­plan­ned main­te­nan­ce. The big­ge­st cul­prits w­hen it co­mes to par­ti­al lo­ad los­ses are the Ar­not, Ken­dal and Du­vha po­wer sta­ti­ons.

Dis­tri­bu­ti­on and build pro­gram­me

On dis­tri­bu­ti­on, the po­wer u­ti­li­ty has re­du­ced outa­ge du­ra­ti­on at 34.9% ver­sus a tar­get of 38%, w­hi­le the new build pro­gram­me has al­so ma­de pro­gress. Me­du­pe U­nit 3 and 2 ha­ve been sy­n­chro­ni­sed to the na­ti­o­nal grid.

Tee­thing pro­blems at new build sta­ti­ons

The u­ti­li­ty said w­hi­le good pro­gress has been ma­de on the build pro­gram­me, tee­thing pro­blems ha­ve sur­fa­ced.

Lo­ca­ted in M­pu­ma­lan­ga, the Ku­si­le Po­wer S­ta­ti­on has ex­pe­rien­ced the most tee­thing pro­blems to da­te. Ol­der plants li­ke Ma­ju­ba and Cam­dem w­hen they we­re built, ex­pe­rien­ced si­mi­lar chal­len­ges.

Ha­de­be said he was not wor­ried a­bout t­his as it took a­round 18 to 24 mont­hs for new sta­ti­ons to per­form op­ti­mal­ly.

On the is­sue of po­wer s­ta­ti­on ma­na­gers, the u­ti­li­ty sta­ted that it is wor­king hard to ad­dress the mat­ter of se­ver­al acting po­wer s­ta­ti­on ma­na­gers.

E­s­kom exe­cu­ti­ve Andrew Et­zin­ger said skil­led pro­fes­si­o­nals are nee­ded. Cur­rent­ly t­he­re are se­ven acting po­wer s­ta­ti­on ma­na­gers at E­s­kom’s 15 co­al-fi­red po­wer sta­ti­ons.

Let­ha­bo re­pairs

Me­an­w­hi­le, the po­wer u­ti­li­ty al­so ga­ve an up­da­te of pro­gress at its Let­ha­bo po­wer plant.

An ex­plo­si­on at U­nit 5 of the F­ree Sta­te ba­sed po­wer plant last month led to the de­ath of an em­ploy­ee. I­ni­ti­al­ly, the u­ti­li­ty said, the u­nit will re­main out of acti­on for three mont­hs.

On F­ri­day, 16 No­vem­ber E­s­kom said in­ves­ti­ga­ti­ons we­re on­going and re­pairs could ta­ke a­ny­thing from six to 12 mont­hs to be com­ple­ted.

Fig­hting cor­rup­ti­on

Me­an­w­hi­le, Ha­de­be stres­sed that the fig­ht a­gainst cor­rup­ti­on at the u­ti­li­ty is on­going. To da­te t­he­re ha­ve been 1 049 in­ves­ti­ga­ti­ons of which 849 ha­ve been fi­na­li­sed, w­hi­le a furt­her 250 pe­op­le ha­ve been pla­ced on sus­pen­si­on.

Ear­lier in the day, the po­wer u­ti­li­ty an­noun­ced the sus­pen­si­on of the exe­cu­ti­ve for the group Ca­pi­tal Di­vi­si­on, A­bram Ma­san­go, fol­lo­wing al­le­ga­ti­ons of im­pro­priety.

The al­le­ga­ti­ons re­la­te to the Ku­si­le pro­ject.

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