Eskom will 'stick rigorously to maintenance plan' and buy excess electricity
Will change maintenance plan to ensure improved plant performance
Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter says SA's power utility has adopted a comprehensive maintenance plan which will enable it to perform the necessary rigorous maintenance on its power plants to avoid the deterioration of its generation plants.
De Ruyter told a news conference on Friday that the maintenance plan, which Eskom took to the board this week, entailed that the power utility would revert to the philosophy of a maintenance schedule.
“What it entails is that instead of deferring maintenance - scheduled maintenance - and instead of postponing general overhauls and mid-life overhauls, we intend to return to the cycle of maintaining our plants as per original equipment manufacture guidelines.
“In the past we neglected to perform scheduled maintenance as required, and those legacies are coming home and causing us to have unreliable equipment,” De Ruyter said.
De Ruyter said the amended maintenance schedule would result in an increased probability of load-shedding by Eskom over the medium term while it fixed the system.
“We will unfortunately expect some increase in load-shedding. We will have to do this in a structured, careful, managed way. We have to give us the space to fix what we need.
“If we do not implement this maintenance plan, there is a very real risk that the deterioration in our system performance will continue. We therefore need an intervention and we need it as soon as possible,” De Ruyter said.
He said part of the plan was also to make sure the utility was able to buy electricity from those entities that had excess supply they could make available to Eskom.
De Ruyter said the state-owned power entity would also increase its “demand management” efforts.
“In February, we will have a return of 'traffic light system' on your TV screen in order to enlist the assistance of the South African public in managing demand.”
De Ruyter said there were a number of opportunities for consumers to be more efficient in how they use electricity, and he said the country had to wean itself off cheap electricity.
“We will change our maintenance philosophy and enter into long-term partnerships with original equipment manufacturers so we can be sure we have appropriate skills and the appropriate commitment from those suppliers to improve the performance of our assets.
“Part of this effort is going to be an endeavour to address skills transfer, that we make sure we don’t remain dependent on these contractors but build up our own skills base even as we perform our maintenance.”