The respective managers of Eskom’s Tutuka and Kendal power stations have been summarily suspended pending disciplinary investigations, while intervention will also be taken at the Kriel and Duvha power stations.
Eskom said on Thursday that its council was aware that the power provider’s aging network was plagued by a legacy of neglect and poor maintenance, but that the “situation was exacerbated by serious incidents of careless behavior by some drivers”.
“The council is pleased that some units have been re-employed, but realizes that the level of interruptions is unacceptably high.”
The council also gave its support to CEO André de Ruyter’s suspension of the two power plants’ managers.
“There have been discussions with other managers of power stations to ensure that the previous culture of poor consequence management will no longer be the norm and will no longer be tolerated at Eskom,” Eskom said.
“The executive has meanwhile sent three senior generation managers to the relevant sites (Duvha, Kriel, Tutuka and Kendal) to provide personal guidance and supervision.”
South Africans have been subjected to load shedding since Tuesday, which was later pushed up to phase 4. By Friday, it had scaled down to phase 3 load shedding, with the prospect of the situation continuing over the weekend.
Eskom says its council is working closely with the power supplier’s management to improve the situation soon.
A total of 5 000 MW was shut down at this stage due to planned maintenance work, while over the past seven days 10 950 MW had to be taken out of the network due to unplanned maintenance work. This has led to a shortage of about 3 000 MW – a situation which has been exacerbated by the cold weather that has hit large parts of the country in recent days.
Eskom says it is well aware of the significant burden that load shedding causes for people, as well as its effect on an already struggling economy. The power provider says it is committed to ensuring the power network is managed sustainably and reliably.
“The council and executive management have met twice over the past two days with Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to discuss the systemic causes of the load shedding and the steps being taken to repair broken infrastructure,” Eskom said. .
At these meetings it was agreed that an urgent cultural change should take place and that the skills improvement program for Eskom’s 44 000 workers should be accelerated, promoted and supported.