Weekend Witness - - Opinion -

ESKOM’S trans­mis­sion sys­tem’s 10­year de­vel­op­ment plan in­di­cates that the state power util­ity is ex­pected to spend more than R149 bil­lion over the next nine years to deliver a re­li­able, high­qual­ity elec­tric­ity sup­ply through­out South Africa and the re­gion.

Of the R149 bil­lion, R3 bil­lion is for cus­tomer­re­lated projects, R25 bil­lion for gen­er­a­tion in­te­gra­tion projects, and about R121 bil­lion for re­li­a­bil­ity projects. More than R22 bil­lion is ex­pected to be spent in KwaZulu­Natal.

Eskom says the trans­mis­sion sys­tem needs to be well­main­tained to deliver a re­li­able sup­ply of elec­tric­ity and it also needs to be strength­ened to meet chang­ing cus­tomer needs. Eskom’s abil­ity to deliver a re­li­able sup­ply to home­own­ers and businesses hit a stum­bling block ear­lier this month when power was cut across large parts of South Africa. It was the first time Eskom had cut its power sup­ply since 2008.

The rea­son be­hind the cut — seven days of heavy rain had left coal stocks wet.

Can Eskom bal­ance its ex­pan­sion plan through­out KwaZulu­Natal, the rest of South Africa and the re­gion, while en­sur­ing it is able to meet the needs of ex­ist­ing in­di­vid­ual and busi­ness users, with­out hav­ing to re­sort to reg­u­lar power cuts? This re­mains to be seen.

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