Electricity minister’s weekly false positve spin as Eskom burns billions on diesel

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  • Eskom has recorded a significant improvement with its energy generation moving from an average of 28 000 megawatts (MW) to close to 29 000 MW in the past week, Electricity Minister, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, announced on Sunday. 
  • Ramokgopa was updating the media on the progress made regarding the one-year implementation of the Energy Action Plan (EAP) and provided a weekly generation outlook which again was riddled with false positive spin and inaccurate information. 

“There’s a considerable improvement on the generation side, you can see that we’re beginning to normalise available capacity to be upward of 29 000 MW,” he said.

He also took the time to thank the leadership of Eskom, starting with the Board led by Mpho Makwana, followed by the Acting Eskom CEO Calib Cassim, and the entity’s Head of Generation Bheki Nxumalo and his team.

According to the Minister, from 7 to 11 August, Eskom had a generation capacity of 28 932 MW and exceeded 29 000 MW on two occasions. He also told the media that Eskom breached the 60% energy availability factor (EAF) as the demand comes down which is not true.

According to Eksom’s own EAF reporting and comments by respected energy analyst, Chris Yelland, there has been an improvement in Eskom week-on-week energy availability factor (EAF) for week 31, 2023, from 57.3% to 59.0%, as unplanned outages reduce from 34.07% to 32.83 % & planned maintenance reduces from 7.52% to 7.25. However the trend is not unusual for the time of year.

Image credit: Eskom

Eskom leads into the week with stage 3 blackouts. Breakdowns are currently at 16 547MW of generating capacity while the generating capacity out of service for planned maintenance is 4 507MW.

Eskom’s most recent status report. Source: https://twitter.com/Eskom_SA

“However, for long-term sustainability, it’s important to take out these units as at when we deem it necessary because when these units come back they sustain levels of performance. What we’re going to do and not compromise on is the philosophy of maintenance plan so you’re able to guarantee the performance of these units going into the future, ” said Ramokgopa. He noted the underperforming units were due to historic reasons, including a lack of investment in maintenance.

Ramokgopa also defended Eskom’s R12.4 billion diesel spend over the past four months, saying fuel needed to be burned to protect SA’s economy. “We did say that it is going to come at great cost to the fiscus,” he said. It actually comes at a great cost to the tax payer. Treasury reported that Eskom’s debt stands at R439 billion at the end of May this year and it is now likely around R460 billion.  Eskom reported unsustainable debt of R396.6 billion in their 2022 AFS. Read more 

Author: Bryan Groenendaal


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