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September : Energy war room a success

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16 September, 2015

Energy war room a success

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown says the work of the war room set up to tackle the country's energy challenges has led to Eskom going for over 25 days without implementing load shedding.

 energy challenge, load shedding
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Eskom's acting CEO Brian Molefe has also projected that the country is likely to go without load shedding until March next year.

The minister and the CEO, accompanied by other officials who are part of the war room, said this when giving progress on the implementation of the five point plan that the Cabinet approved when establishing the war room in December.

"Today [marks 27 days] since we have not had any load shedding and it does not mean that we are out of the woods. It is in the same week to, and I am very grateful to the CE and his team, that Medupi Unit six has come on full commercialisation.

"This means that 800MW is on the grid and at the same time, we have had 900MW from Koeberg 2 and within that period, we have not seen any load shedding," she said.

The minister said load shedding has had an enormous impact on the lives of citizens and on the economy.

"I really want to assure citizens that through our integrated resource plan, we are working to intensify the diversification of the country's energy mix," she said.

The government's five point plan is divided into various components. The one aspect - supply side management - deals with immediate measures to improve the maintenance of plants and operational practices, co-generation, gas power generation and additional sources of supply and sourcing more power from independent power producers.

This is a short to medium intervention aimed at limiting the risk of load shedding.

The second aspect - the demand side management - looks at finances and procurement, skills and regulatory issues, long-term issues with short-term implications and communications.

The minister said the war room has made progress on some aspects of the five point plan.

"At the end of March, because we were in the war room, the Department of Energy, the Department of Public Enterprises and Eskom signed an agreement of about 800MW of co-generation."

"Work is underway to ensure that new energy is continuously brought on to the power grid through the various projects," she said.

Eskom projects no load shedding until March 2016

Meanwhile, Eskom's acting CEO Brian Molefe said the power grid's installed capacity stood at 43500MW in May 2015.

With the peak demand standing at 32180MW at the time, he said the power utility was forced to implement load shedding due to a shortfall of 2180MW after 6500MW of power was lost due to planned maintenance, while 7000MW un unplanned maintenance, or plant break downs, brought the system under a lot of strain.

He said with the excess capacity over the past month, Eskom was able to avoid load shedding.

"Installed capacity is now 44262MW from 43500MW.

"We had planned maintenance of 4608MW and we had unplanned maintenance of 6757MW.

In addition, we had available to us the gas turbines of 2244MW that we did not switch on the 2nd of September because demand was only at 30,653MW.

Molefe said Eskom's capacity outlook was positive, and added that the power utility was unlikely to implement load shedding from September this year until March 2016.

"Between September and March, our projected demand will actually stay [within the system's available generating capacity].

"As long as projected demand is [within the available generating capacity], we do not have load shedding."