“Breakdown of units embarrassing us” - Eskom CEO

BY CHARL BOSCH - JANUARY 15, 2015

Eskom CEO Tshedsio Motana has said that a lack of regular maintenance is to blame for the power utility incorporating load-shedding across the country.

Addressing the media at Eskom’s Megawatt Park outside Johannesburg on Thursday, Motana said that the state-owned parastatal had failed to live up to its own maintenance philosophy and continued to use unreliable equipment that would breakdown each time.

“Much like a car, if you fail to maintain it, it will eventually pack-up. You can carry out little fixes here and there, but if you don’t carry out the correct maintenance, that car will keep breaking down and embarrassing you, much like how the breakdowns of our plants and units are embarrassing us,” Motana said.

“This is a problem that has accumulated over an extensive period of time, and the reality is that it will not be reversed overnight. We are probably going to require as long as these problems started, to get everything sorted out again”.

Motana stated that a wide variety of factors had led to Eskom’s decision not carry out maintenance but that the power utility had reached a point where it needs 5 000 megawatts in order to carry repairs without implementing load-shedding, the latter usually triggered when a drop of 1 000 megawatts is detected.

He also added that Eskom’s plants had solely been running on diesel in an attempt to keep the lights and that the equipment has aged to such an extent that breakdowns have become imminent.

“We have arrived at a point where could either continue to do the same things of the past and make the problem a lot bigger than it already is or we can do the right thing,” he said, adding that Eskom is no longer able to fully guarantee electricity without help.

“The power system will continue to be severely strained for a long time but will improve once capacity building comes on stream. Fundamentally however, it has been decided to return to our philosophy and do things properly as well as managing and maintaining our equipment,” he concluded.

 

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