HomeRegional NewsAfricaNo detour for keeping the lights on

No detour for keeping the lights on

As the end of the year approaches some sectors prepare for the ‘closed’ season. This is not the case for the energy and power industry, which has no intention of slowing down.

Originally published in the ESI Africa weekly newsletter on 2018/11/14 – subscribe today

Even as the market shows signs of being embattled this does not deter efforts to keep national grids operational and the lights on.

One example is the South African market, where state-owned utility and massive employer (approximately 47,000 employees) Eskom announced that it had started consultations about possible job cuts for executives.

The cash-strapped utility is contending with staggeringly, long-standing unpaid bills from municipalities, which according to the minister of cooperative governance, Zweli Mkhize, has now reached R17 billion – money the utility is in desperate need of.

Apart from its financial woes, Eskom faces weakened demand as distributed power and prosumers gain traction, and declining investor confidence as graft allegations of the company surface.

It’s no wonder that Eskom’s board has approved the 60 days of consultations that must precede potential job cuts under section 189 of the country’s Labour Relations Act. These possible job cuts must not impact on service delivery, but labour unions are likely to make their voices heard over the next two months.

Take the poll on our Twitter and Facebook page: Do you believe that Eskom’s executive-level job cuts are a) necessary and b) will run smoothly?

Meanwhile in West Africa, at the Future Energy Nigeria conference underway this week a representative from the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria rightly stated: “You are off-grid if you experience greater than four hours of blackout per day. By this measure everyone in this [conference] room is off-grid.”

The region is not standing idly by as the secretary general of the West African Power Pool, Siengui Apollinaire Ki, informed delegates that the master plan (2019 -2033) will include 75 projects, require $36.4 billion and will have a 40% renewable energy mix to bring relief to the region’s people.

The ‘show’ must go on and progress made in 2018 across Africa, such as the Kenyan-based Lake Turkana wind farm injecting 310MW to the national grid, has cemented a solid platform for exponential development.

Author: Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl, editor of ESI Africa

Read the previous note from the edtior here.

Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl
As the Editor of ESI Africa, my passion is on sustainability and placing African countries on the international stage. I take a keen interest in the trends shaping the power & water utility market along with the projects and local innovations making headline news. Watch my short weekly video on our YouTube channel ESIAfricaTV and speak with me on what has your attention.