Johannesburg, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 17 November 2011 – South African national power utility Eskom Holdings has promised that major maintenance work at its power stations will not cause power cuts.
Reporting this undertaking, “Times Live” said that the power utility had stressed the importance of reducing electricity demand during the maintenance work.
Eskom spokesperson Hilary Joffe said that high demand made it difficult for Eskom to maintain its ageing infrastructure. “Maintenance is conducted annually, but we have not been doing it as we would have liked, so we have a backlog,” Joffe added.
“We did some maintenance in winter, but we did not do any last year because we had to ensure supply for the World Cup. It is a planned exercise conducted on a schedule because different power stations have different needs,” she said.
Joffe explained that the work had started in September and was expected to be completed in May when the demand was expected to increase for winter.
She said Eskom did most of its maintenance in summer, when there was less demand for electricity. But demand had risen during the recent heat waves because more air conditioners had been in use.
Joffe said some power stations were less efficient in hot weather and that one unit at Koeberg power station had been shut down.
The maintenance will include transmission lines and distribution infrastructure.
“We ask people to switch off geysers and pool pumps between 5pm and 9pm,” she said.
She claimed that South Africans were wasteful in their use of electricity.