Eskom’s De Ruyter has no Plans to Step Down Despite Calls from BBC

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  • South Africa’s state owned power utility CEO, Mr André De Ruyter, has no plans to step down of his own accord.
  • He was speaking today during an address that featured most of the Eskom department head officials in a unified show of force.
  • The Black Business Council (BBC) and the National Union of Mineworkers has called for De Ruyter’s resignation and that of the entire board.
  • The country is battling stage 4 loading shedding triggered from stage 2 suddenly yesterday.
  • The recent severe constraints on the power grid has been caused partly by municipalities and heavy industrial users not adhering to loadshedding directives by the System Operator to reduce demand, according to De Ruyter. 

De Ruyter said that Eskom’s executives serve at the pleasure and discretion of the board. “If the board considers it appropriate for me and other executives to resign, then it is the board’s decision to make. We have had no conversations in this regard so far, so I do not intend to resign of my own accord,” he said.

“It is probably more important to have continuity of management, than to fall back in the trap Eskom has been in the past 10 years, when we had 11 different chief executives,” added De Ruyter.

De Ruyter explained that a blackout in Zambia on Saturday had a cascading effect on the Southern Africa Power Pool, of which South Africa is part. Read more

The system was strained further by municipalities and industrial users not adhering to load-shedding protocol when the directive is issued by the System Operator to reduce demand. “This contributed to stage 2 being pushed to stage 4,” said De Ruyter

“Eskom has engaged with the municipalities in question, having written to them to correct the situation,” said Mr Monde Bala, Eskom’s head of distribution. When questioned about which municipalities did not comply,  he reported that only two municipalities – eThekwini and Buffalo City – complied with protocol and reduced their power demand. Bala did not want to be drawn into naming the industrial users were who did not comply.

De Ruyter announced that Eskom will reduce load shedding to stage 3 on Wednesday, and then to stage 2 on Friday. The energy utility expects to lift load shedding on Saturday morning.

“There should be between 3 800 MW and 4000 MW returned to the grid, which will have a positive impact on the outlook for load shedding going forward,” De Ruyter said.

De Ruyter concluded by announcing that load shedding will remain with South Africans until new generation capacity of between 4000 MW and 6000MW is added to the generation mix.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal


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