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Last week South African President, Jacob Zuma, met with the state-owned power utility executive management team to discuss and evaluate the current status of the national power system.

Zuma ensures company delivers mandate

The President’s visit forms part of government’s concerted efforts to provide support to state-owned companies, while also implementing the reforms that would make them more effective in delivering on their mandates, Eskom said in a company statement.

According to the utility, Zuma was beaming with pride for the progress Eskom has made thus far.

“I am happy with the progress that Eskom has made. By this time last year the situation was gloomy and there was no light at the end of the tunnel. The company is moving in the right direction and that gives us a bit of comfort,” the president said.

Power status

The utility explained that its performance is improving at a steady pace: “This week alone our unplanned outages or breakdowns were 6.87%, planned outages 12.79% and energy availability factor 79.69%.

“In addition, we haven’t used our open cycle gas turbines this month at all. This is a continuation of the excellent performance for April 2016, where OCGT load factor was 0.36%.”

[quote]Last week the utility proudly stated that it had avoided load shedding for nearly nine consecutive months, since August last year.

“We are adhering to our Tetris maintenance plan and are operating within our 8,500MW maintenance budget whilst making the most of the weekend maintenance opportunities,” the utility said in a company statement.

According to the power company, the total average for unplanned outages from 28 April – 02 May 2016 was approximately 2,819MW, with a partial load loss average around 1,249MW.

Increased resilience

In April, the utility disclosed that 3,535MW of power was lost due to multiple trips of units at three power stations.

According to the utility, the urgency to implement load shedding was avoided as a result of “the increased resilience that the company built into the power system over the past eight months”.

Eskom claims to have a “robust plan” to ensure that performed maintenance has no impact on power supply.