Eskom says it welcomes the announcement of further reforms and fully supports measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday to address the long-running electricity crisis.
The President announced urgent measures in the next three months to accelerate efforts to add new generation capacity to its faltering grid.
As part of addressing the shortage of megawatts, Eskom will purchase additional energy from existing private generators such as mines, paper mills, shopping centres and other private entities that have surplus power.
According to the power utility, these reforms will go a long way toward easing the power generation constraints the country has been grappling with for some 14 years.
Eskom believes the measures will also accelerate the end of load shedding and expand the electricity generation industry in South Africa through structural changes.
“Particularly pleasing to Eskom is that government has made these moves to empower Eskom to speedily acquire additional generation capacity from existing IPP with excess capacity, to acquire spares and equipment from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and indeed, the resources to increase the funding of the maintenance budget.”
To this end, Eskom said it is engaged in efforts with all interested stakeholders to introduce the necessary skills where it currently has gaps.
Meanwhile, the utility said it has already reached out to the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) to ascertain if their members are interested in assisting Eskom to bolster its skills.
In the statement, Eskom said it was also placing significant emphasis on recovering its Energy Availability Factor (EAF), especially its coal plants, where performance has been disappointing.
“The measures announced by the President will enable Eskom to intensify its maintenance efforts to drive improvements in EAF.”
In addition, the State-owned entity’s efforts to acquire battery energy storage systems are already at an advanced stage, with further tranches of BESS rollout to follow imminently.
“Furthermore, as the President announced, Eskom has already released land with grid connections for long-term leases by independent power producers, with more to follow soon.”
Meanwhile, Eskom said removing limits to private sector investments in electricity generation capacity would help unlock investments and create jobs during the construction of the projects, while helping to lower the cost of electricity in the long-term.
“Eskom has significantly shortened the time required for IPPs to obtain cost estimate letters and budget quotes for grid access and is committed to optimising this process even further.”
Eskom said it is looking forward to playing its part in the rapid and effective implementation of the President’s plan and will collaborate with government, regulators, labour and the private sector to bring an end to load shedding soon.