Electricity Minister Dr Kgosientso Ramokgopa will visit the Matimba and Medupi power stations in Limpopo on Monday.
This is a continuation of the Minister’s visits to all Eskom power stations which started last week. The purpose of the visits is to engage management, employees and unions.
This week, the visiting power plants are Grootvlei on Tuesday, Hendrina and Arnot power plants on Thursday, Matla and Komati power plants on Friday and Majuba power plants on Saturday.
Speaking to the media earlier during a visit to the Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant, Ramokgopa said coal fire stations will have to increase their capacity during the winter season as the start-up of the 920 MW Unit 1 at Koeberg is expected to be delayed. “These poor power stations in Mpumalanga, especially the Tutuka power station, need major improvements,” said Ramokgopa.
“We know that we cannot make an improvement to Kusi [at the power plant] before November of this year.”
“This means that other [power plants] have to meet the demands disproportionately because the demand exploded in the winter.”
“We were hoping that Koeberg would be [ready] before the deadline … so we will probably miss the additional 920 MW target by July 23.”
“If you put it in context, it’s one step of discharge, so it helped us get rid of it.”
“So we need to put more emphasis on these 13 [coal plants] to improve their energy availability factor [EAF],” he said.
According to the minister, especially the Tutuka and Kusile power plants need a lot of their electricity production.
The energy availability coefficient of Tutuka is 15-17% and Kusile EAF is about 19% due to long-term failure of three units.
“I said when we visited Tutuka that it is the worst performing and we can get 2,500-3,000MW [from there]. So Tutuka must do everything to help us in this situation and others will continue to add.
“You can’t … realistically, we will only get these units by design [that is] four out of five that will come out before December 24 and then the rest will be on the market next February,” Ramokgopa said.
He emphasized that the department, together with all stakeholders, is working hard to resolve the electricity crisis as soon as possible.
“So we’re doing everything we can. Once we’ve visited all these stations and we’re sure of the numbers the station managers have given us, we should be able to communicate where we’re going to resolve this situation. “But I want to give public assurance to South Africans that … I don’t see us moving to higher stages of discharge. I foresee a position where we don’t have to go above stage 6.”
“I am more than confident that we can handle the load – basically 6,000 MW that is not available to meet the demand,” he said.
The minister called on South Africans to do their part as the government continues to implement the energy agenda.
“One thing I would like to convey to the public is that everything is in our hands,” Ramokgopa said.
“The focus has been on the generation side … if we attack the generation side, I think there will be problems on the demand side.”
“The calculation has been done and it says that we can save up to 4,000MW, which is an optimistic case, but at least 2,000MW just by behavior change.”
“[In other words] just turning off the geysers … that helps us and that’s how we get to the bottom stage of shedding the burden.”
“Let’s say on the optimistic side… we will get 4,000 MW. It’s a power plant the size of Medup, so you can only remove load on the demand side.
“We can help solve this challenge,” Ramokgopa said.