Eskom worries about power supply this winter
22 May, 2012 12:50
South African power utility Eskom is worried about meeting peak power demand as the southern hemisphere winter sets in, although the situation should improve by the middle of June, chief executive Brian Dames said on Tuesday. Eskom said on Monday evening that spare supply on its electricity network had fallen to 2 percent of total potential output as temperatures fell.
The tight supply was in part due to maintenance, Dames said, although that should improve as some units, including one at the Koeberg nuclear plant near Cape Town, came back online by the middle of June.
"It is a big concern for us to meet that peak demand while we have plants on outage," Dames told reporters.
"Towards the middle of June we should see a return of our Koeberg unit and the rest of the other units. From then our maintenance will reduce," he said. Eskom is walking a tightrope to keep power flowing to factories, mines and smelters that had to shut down for days four years ago, costing the economy billions of dollars in lost output and causing a spike in the price of metals such as gold and platinum, of which South Africa is a major producer.
Eskom worried about immediate supply
May 22 2012 12:20 Reuters & Sapa
Johannesburg - Power utility Eskom is worried about meeting peak power demand as winter sets in, although the situation should improve by the middle of June, CEO Brian Dames told reporters on Tuesday.
Eskom said on Monday that available spare supply on its electricity network had dropped to 2% of total capacity as temperatures fell.
Decisions on South Africa's future energy supply should be made early to cope with rising demand, Dames said.
"We must decide now to build the next power plant. We must not make the mistake to build when it is too late," he told the African Utility Week exhibition in Johannesburg.
With urbanisation and technology pushing up electricity demand worldwide, investing in infrastructure is important.
Dames said South Africa's concerns about energy supply will subside as capacity to generate power increases, but other countries in Africa are not so fortunate.
It is in the country's interest to facilitate increased power capacity on the continent.
Turning to tariffs, Dames said South Africa's electricity prices are not yet cost-effective. Increases over a longer period of time, matching the rise in inflation, was where tariff increases should eventually settle.
He said if increased capacity is created, it has to be paid for.
The growth in energy supply needs to be more efficient and address climate change while keeping the lights on, Dames said.