Tag: Eskom

Eskom workers strike

By Lauren Isaacs for EWN

Eskom on Monday confirmed that some workers at its power stations would embark on a planned protest from Tuesday.

The demonstrators are temporary workers employed by contractors and Eskom Rotek Industries.

It is believed they are up in arms over the use of labour brokers.

Eskom’s spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said: “Eskom has put in measures to minimise the disruption to production and it bears noting that the matters that are being raised by the protestors are already before the CCMA,” he said.

On Tuesday night Eskom sent a notification on Twitter to say that the power grid was under pressure.

This comes as President Cyril Ramaphosa said that government was making progress in overcoming the problems Eskom has been facing for years now.

Ramaphosa has used his weekly newsletter to address the energy crisis gripping the country.

He said that improvements were continuing in municipal debt collection and despite load shedding, maintenance work was continuing at power stations.

He said that South Africa would be buying electricity through a transparent tendering process that prioritised competitiveness and cost-effectiveness.

Government has gazetted ministerial determinations that will enable the development of more than 11,800 megawatts of additional power generation.

Eskom caught lying about load-shedding

Source: MyBroadband

Eskom has admitted to exceeding stage 4 load-shedding limits, which energy advisor Ted Blom said shows the power utility is lying about which stage they have implemented.

This year, South Africa experienced the worst load-shedding it has ever seen, with 49 days of blackouts to date.

According to Eskom’s announcements, load-shedding peaked at stage 4, but Blom highlighted that the power utility exceeded stage 4 in September.

Official information shared by Eskom showed load-shedding of 5 359MW on Wednesday 2 September and 5 642MW on Thursday 3 September.

This far exceeds stage 4 load-shedding, which “allows for up to 4 000MW of the national load to be shed”.

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha denied accusations that Eskom is deliberately deceiving the public on which load-shedding stages it is implementing.

He confirmed the accuracy of the load-shedding statistics published on 2 and 3 September but said load curtailment should also be taken into consideration.

“Once Eskom declares Stage 4 load-shedding, it can request any major industrial customer to curtail up to 20% of load,” Mantshantsha said.

“This amounts to 1 200MW of demand that must be curtailed by industrial customers as part of the licenced load curtailment in terms.”

“Load-shedding is what Eskom sheds from the public, and that is what Eskom announced at Stage 4 on Thursday.”

However, when pushed on the amount of load-shedding which truly happened on Thursday, Mantshantsha said “Eskom did shed 4,400MW on the day in question”.

This equates to stage 5 load-shedding based on Eskom’s own definitions. Mantshantsha, however, would not answer the question on whether the power utility implemented stage 5 load-shedding.

It is not clear why Eskom refused to admit it implemented stage 5 load-shedding, as this could cause confusion among consumers.

Blom accused Eskom of being deceitful in its answers and trying to downplay the severity of load-shedding in South Africa.

Eskom’s load-shedding stage definitions
Eskom explains the different load-shedding stages on its website and in the documentation it provides to the public and municipalities.

Here are the current load-shedding definitions for Stage 1 to Stage 8:

Stage 1 allows for up to 1,000 MW of the national load to be shed.
Stage 2 allows for up to 2,000 MW of the national load to be shed.
Stage 3 allows for up to 3,000 MW of the national load to be shed.
Stage 4 allows for up to 4,000 MW of the national load to be shed.
Stage 5 allows for up to 5,000 MW of the national load to be shed.
Stage 6 allows for up to 6,000 MW of the national load to be shed.
Stage 7 allows for up to 7,000 MW of the national load to be shed.
Stage 8 allows for up to 8,000 MW of the national load to be shed.

According to these definitions, and after taking 1,200MW load curtailment into account, stage 5 load-shedding was implemented on 2 September and 3 September.

The table below provides an overview of the load-shedding implemented in the beginning of September.

Blom said there is a “massive difference between being forced to shed 4,000MW (13%) of total demand and 6,000MW (20%)”.

“If the power utility is short of 20% of the economy’s need it is a national disaster and requires an immediate intervention,” he said.

According to Blom, Eskom has lied to the public on load-shedding days this year and on the level of load-shedding.

He added that Eskom is also not telling the truth on how long the reconditioning program will take and the level of reconditioning done during lockdown level 5.

“In short, the public has branded Eskom as pathological liars with many examples over the last decade,” said Blom.

Blom said Eskom’s leadership should take extra precautions to ensure they are “100% factually correct and stop playing cat and mouse with the public”.

By Tom Head for The South African

The Matjhabeng Municipality in Free State has agreed to hand over 139 farms belonging to the administrative region, to act as a security on their R3.4-billion Eskom bill.

The serial defaulter has run up a tab of more than R3.4-billion in unpaid electricity bills over the years. Eskom put their foot down earlier in 2020, severely limiting the supply of energy for the municipality. However, it seems both parties have come to an agreement, and the total cost of the land is believed to be worth R2.5 billion.

This doesn’t clear all of the debt, but it marks a significant – if unusual – agreement between both parties. The deal was facilitated by the Free State High Court, and the title deeds will be signed over to Eskom while Matjhabeng remains in arrears. It is not yet clear what the power utility intends to do with these farms, should the debt stay in place.

The firm issued a statement on the matter earlier on Tuesday, confirming the details of their “land shedding” exchange. They state that all defaulting municipalities still owe them R31-billion, which remains a “threat to sustainability” for Eskom.

“In its ongoing efforts to recover more than R3.4 billion in unpaid debts owed by the Matjhabeng Municipality, the administrative body has agreed to hand over to Eskom 139 farms belong to the municipality, as a security on the debt. The farms are worth approximately R2.5 billion, and the title deeds will be endorsed in favour of Eskom.

“This will remain in place while the debt is unsettled. The order has been made by the High Court in Free State. This step on the part of Eskom is the result of repeated failures by Matjhabeng Municipality to adhere to its payment requirements. The total outstanding municipal debt [for all municipalities] of R31-billion threatens our sustainability.”

 

Loadshedding reappears, stages may worsen

Eskom announced Stage 2 load-shedding will continue on Wednesday from 8am to 10pm.

The power utility said the breakdown of multiple units resulted in the power system being constrained.

“With the unreliable and aged generation infrastructure, together with a number of risks on running units, there is a high possibility that additional stages of load-shedding may be implemented at short notice,” read a statement from Eskom.

A generator each broke down at Arnot, Medupi, Lethabo, Matla powerstations, while two units each at Majuba, Camden and Tutuka powerstations also broke down.
This, together with the need to conserve emergency generation reserves, necessitated that loadshedding be implemented in order to protect the integrity of the system.

Eskom is urging customers to reduce electricity usage to ease the strain on the system. The current loadshedding stage could be moved up at short notice.

Chaos reigns at Eskom virtual meeting

By Antony Sguazzin for Bloomberg

With South Africa’s biggest state utility in crisis, one of parliament’s most important financial oversight committees called an urgent online meeting with the company.

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. non-executive board members failed to log on, sending a text message to say they were tied up, and parliamentary staff forgot to invite Pravin Gordhan, the public enterprises minister, who oversees the utility.

The meeting was convened, to among other things, discuss two legal reports — one of which dealt with the conduct of Chief Operating Officer Jan Oberholzer, and the other with a multi-billion rand fuel oil supply contract. Oberholzer, Eskom Chief Executive Officer Andre de Ruyter and several other executives did attend.

“You had chaos from the board side, which made it a farce,” said Alf Lees, a member of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts for the main opposition Democratic Alliance. “You couldn’t address the issues, particularly the issue of the COO.”

The need for urgency is self evident. Eskom is mired in corruption allegations, has debt of about 450 billion rand ($26.8 billion) and is struggling to supply the country with sufficient power.

The committee adjourned and will try to meet again next week to discuss Eskom.

Source: MyBroadband

The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) says it has revoked a section 30A directive granted to Karpowership SA Pty Ltd for activities linked to the emergency generation of electricity.

When the company had initially submitted its request, it had indicated that the country’s electricity supply was under threat because of the increased pressure on the healthcare system as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The motivation for the request was to ensure an uninterrupted supply of energy to the healthcare sector, something which Eskom was unable to guarantee.

The department verbally approved the request on 26 June 2020. Following receipt of confirmation that all environmental requirements would be met, the directive was confirmed in writing on 6 July 2020.

“It has subsequently emerged that the company had applied for the verbal directive in advance, in preparation for the possible implementation of the government’s integrated resources plan and in the event that the company would be selected as an emergency power producer.

“However, this information was not disclosed to the department when the company motivated for the verbal directive to be issued for the Section 30A activities, which are, in essence, an emergency provision,” the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries said in a statement.

“In light of the fact that it has now emerged that there was in fact no emergency situation, the department has withdrawn the verbal authorisation and subsequent written directive for the commencement of activities listed in terms of Section 30A of the National Environmental Management Act on 13 August 2020,” the department said.

The company has since accepted the notice and indicated that it does not intend to challenge the department’s decision to revoke the verbal directive.

 

Eskom begins Stage 2 loadshedding 

By Mia Lindeque for Eyewitness News

Eskom says its implementing stage two loadshedding at 8 am.

The utility says it’s battling with several breakdowns of generation units at its plants, which have taken 2 0000 megawatts off the grid.

The blackouts are expected to last until at least 10 pm.

However, Eskom is warned of a high possibility it may ramp up loadshedding to stage three for the evening peak period.

Eskom’s Sikonathi Mantshantsha said: “Eskom regrets informing the country that starting from 8 am this morning, we will have to implement loadshedding stage 2. This is due to the increase in breakdowns overnight and this morning. We will be implementing stage 2 loadshedding, as we have had additional breakdowns overnight.”

Tens of thousands of people on the west rand, the Vaal and Soweto had their power cut at 5am already.

Eskom says its implemented so-called “load reduction” in these areas to prevent network overloading.

Power was expected to be restored to these communities at 9 am, and it’s not yet clear how loadshedding will impact them after that.

 

Source: News24

Power utility Eskom has asked the public to reduce electricity usages after a number of generation units tripped, leading to a constrained power supply.

“This morning one generation unit each at the Kendal and Tutuka power stations tripped, adding to the Tutuka unit that tripped yesterday evening,” it said, adding that teams are working to return these units to service.

A generation unit at Medupi that tripped on Tuesday evening has been returned to service.

“Any additional breakdowns will compromise Eskom’s ability to supply the country through the peak demand period of 17:00 – 21:00. This constrained supply situation may persist through the weekend. ”

Eskom has not instituted nationwide load shedding since the start of the lockdown in late March after power usage plunged as much of the economy was shut down. But it has been cutting power to localised areas in what it calls load reduction.

By Sibongile Khumalo for Fin24 

Eskom says it has taken the unprecedented decision to restrict electricity supply to parts of residential areas around Johannesburg, where unusual surges in consumption have been recorded.

There has been a trend of surges during peak usage periods, between 05:00 and 09:00, and between 17:00 and 20:00, leading the power utility to suspect a link to illegal connections.

Eskom says the decision to restrict supply was taken to safeguard equipment and costs associated with repairs, as power is being used indiscriminately during these peak periods. It will be implemented on a rotational basis.

“This unprecedented measure is necessary to contain the situation. This is in line with our priorities of containing operational costs and [improving] plant performance,” said Motlhabane Ramashi, Senior Manager for Maintenance and Operations in Gauteng.

Illegal connections and meter tampering have been identified as potential causes for the unusual uptick in usage in parts of Diepsloot, Braamfischerville, Ivory Park, parts of Soweto, the Vaal and Orange Farm.

Eskom previously stated that it seen a marked drop in electricity demand since the beginning of the lockdown, helping it to avoid load shedding. The company said the high usage of electricity could not be attributed to the current lockdown.

Illegal connections and non-payment for electricity are some of the challenges eating into Eskom’s income, and the company has projected a R20 billion full-year loss for the 2020 financial year.

In a recent interview with MyBroadband, energy expert Ted Blom said he expects that as mining and smelting come back online under new lockdown regulations, the heavy demand increases could see Eskom face problems as soon as next week.

As the country heads into winter, a lack of maintenance due to hard lockdown and problems associated with reactivating disabled power units “will result in heavy load-shedding”, Blom said. He expects “transformers to blow up and boilers to malfunction”.

“I would not be surprised if we see the worst load-shedding we have ever seen by the end of June,” he said.

Eskom has a number of issues:

  • Under Level 4 regulations, heavy industries such as mining and smelting are coming back online
  • The utility will need to reactivate generation units which were turned off due to the significant drop in electricity demand – of 10-12GW – caused by the national lockdown
  • They have not conducted extensive maintenance on infrastructure during the lockdown period, and cannot increase its generation capacity
  • The utility is expected to need another bailout, which the country can ill-afford

Blom says that, although new CEO Andre De Ruyter stated the new maintenance model should take around 18 months, the Eskom executive has drastically misconstrued the scope of the problem – and that it would take longer than five years to resolve Eskom’s reliability issues.

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