Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe warned load shedding is likely once big businesses and factories pick up operations to get 2019 going.
Speaking to IOL and quoted by MyBroadBand.co.za, Phasiwe said that electricity systems will be under pressure from the middle of January. “We have done a lot of maintenance during the festive period and some of the units are back on the system and will help stabilise the power grid… Many of our generating units are over 35 years old, so clearly we are running an old system that needs a lot of maintenance and generally it’s unreliable,” he added.
Phasiwe said that this, combined with a need to catch up on maintenance, means that load-shedding is likely to resume in the coming weeks.
Eskom has only stockpiled about 28 days’ worth of coal supplies, Phasiwe admitted. While Eskom says 28 days’ coal is enough and will not contribute to load-shedding, energy expert Ted Blom does not agree.
He says Eskom has recovered some coal, “but what they have done because the mining sector has been closed for the last three weeks is they have bought coal that is laying on dumps” and is of poor quality.
These statements contradicts an earlier assurance by the Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan who said the Eskom power grid would be more stable when businesses returned to operations after the holiday season in 2019.