Can Eskom keep the lights on?

Eskom has been forced to implement emergency stage one load shedding following the revelation that five of its coal power stations have less than 10 days of coal supply left.

These outages are proof that South Africa desperately needs a long-term solution to reshape the entire energy sector.

Eskom is in complete crisis mode. The utility is now looking to spend R1 billion on diesel over the next four months to fill the gap and keep the lights on. This is unsustainable.

South Africa cannot afford to be plunged into darkness yet again. Load shedding is not only an inconvenience for citizens, but it also has serious consequences for the economy.

Clearly, there is a complete lack of long-term planning and strategy at the utility. Eskom needs a firm plan of action to make it more efficient and productive.

“It is for this very reason the Democratic Alliance (DA) introduced its proposed Independent System and Market Operator (ISMO) bill which will see Eskom split into two entities, a transmission/grid entity, and a generating entity.

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The generating entity will then compete with other power producers on an equal footing, with price and efficiency being the main determinants of delivering power to the national electricity grid,” says Natasha Mazzone ,the DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises.

Eskom’s monopolistic stranglehold of power delivery to the economy must be broken.

This is the only way South Africa can free up the energy sector to competition, stability and reliability.

At the same time, Eskom needs to start trimming the fat around its employment expenses especially considering its bloated workforce.

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