South Africa

Eskom secures additional power generaton capacity amid continued power cuts

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG – Eskom has paved the way to secure an additional 1,000 megawatts of power.

It's been struggling to produce enough electricity as it dealt with power plant maintenance and unexpected breakdowns.

Eskom implemented stage 6 load shedding over the weekend until Monday and announced that it would downgrade to stage 5 load shedding from midnight.

Eskom cannot provide power to the nation and it was looking to buy power from other sources as soon as possible.

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The utility was doing so via three programmes: the standard offer programme will allow it to procure from companies who have existing generation capacity for a period of three years.

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The emergency generator programme gives it the ability to access more expensive power when the grid is significantly constrained.

Finally, the bilateral power import programme means Eskom will be able to import power from neighbouring countries.

Eskom's Sikonathi Mantshantsha said this would make a difference: “The combined impact of the programmes predicted to exceed 1,000 megawatts will make an important contribution towards reducing the load shedding burden.”

Eskom aimed to sign the first power supply agreement this week.

At the same time, the Western Cape government and the City of Cape Town said they were actively putting plans in place to shield residents from higher stages of load shedding.

On Tuesday, city customers will have stage 3 until 8pm before stage 4 until 10pm, followed by stage 5 until midnight.

Premier Alan Winde on Sunday called an urgent provincial cabinet meeting to update the province’s load shedding contingency plan.

He said the extended power cuts have knock-on effects on sewage pump stations and the ability to keep water reservoirs full.

“They also have effects on our diesel levels in our emergency centres,” Winde added.

The city's executive director of energy, Kadri Nassiep, said for the week, the metro was gearing up to keep customers at least two stages below the Eskom level.

“We are also looking at the available fuel for our gas turbine plants just to make sure that we have sufficient capacity should we require them outside of the peak hours we anticipate to use them,” Nassiep said.

GORDHAN: IPPS AN OPTION FOR RELIABLE POWER

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan on Monday said some of the options for reliable power included bringing in new capacity from independent power producers (IPPs) and industrial co-generators within at least two months.

Gordhan has been meeting with Eskom's board and management in an effort to implement immediate solutions to ensure that the current generation infrastructure provides reliable power.

The ministry said it had reduced the waiting period of approvals from months to hours.

This has resulted in the emergency procurement of 1,000 MW from IPPs and industrial co-generators.

Eskom has additionally been given the green light to source more than 200 MW from the Southern African power pool.

The ailing power utility has also recruited former experienced employees and energy experts to mentor Eskom employees and help with the execution of the plant operations.

Artmotion S.Africa

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