Load shedding here for a year or more – Eskom COO

Government’s plans to end recurring power cuts could take at least a year to deliver results, a top executive at struggling utility Eskom said on Monday.

Africa’s most industrialised economy is set for its worst year of electricity outages, despite President Cyril Ramaphosa pledging new moves to tackle the crisis in July.

Read: Eskom’s maintenance work not yielding results: Oberholzer

State-owned Eskom implemented extensive power cuts last week and is scheduled to do so again this week.

“We have various plans in place, I believe very good plans … however this is going to take time to implement,” Eskom chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer said, adding: “For the next 12 months or so we may not see the required benefits.”

Oberholzer told a news briefing that the performance of Eskom’s fleet of ageing, unreliable coal-fired power stations continued to deteriorate. He said 42 generating units, or almost 24 000 megawatts of capacity, tripped last week, with some units breaking down more than once.

Mid-way through its financial year, Eskom has spent R7.7 billion on diesel to run emergency generators, far in excess of the budgeted amount, Oberholzer added, calling it a serious concern.

“It’s really a difficult situation we find ourselves in,” he told reporters.

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