On fairly regular occasions on this blog, we have taken the pi… we have taken the mickey out of state-owned electricity generating behemoth, Eskom. You can look here for most all of those posts.
But, credit where it is due, it does seem like Brian Molefe has begun some sort of turnaround at the much maligned power utility. There was a very positive – if characteristically honest – press conference this morning, at which these lines were uttered:
We don’t foresee load-shedding for the year unless something goes terribly wrong, but it is still conceivable because we are not out of the woods yet.
Fair enough – and they’ve done well right over summer (the last loadshedding was on 14th September 2015), so who’s to say that it might not continue through winter too – especially with new projects coming online as well:
The successful synchronisation of unit three of the R25bn Ingula hydro pump storage scheme to the grid last week will add 333MW, reducing pressure on the grid and allowing Eskom to undertake its maintenance programme.
Ingula is basically a huge version of the Steenbras pumped-storage scheme, which saved Cape Town from loadshedding on several occasions last winter.
In fact, the future’s so bright, we may have to wear some sort of eye protection:
Mr Molefe said Eskom was working very hard to conclude its construction of the Medupe and Kusile power stations ahead of target. The two power stations and Ingula will add about 11,000MW to the grid on completion of them all in about five years’ time.
On completion, he said, SA would have enough electricity for economic growth and perhaps even a surplus to sell to its neighbours.
A surplus? Blimey.
Of course, there are still uncertainties – like the fact that there’s not ever so much water to run through the Ingula turbines at the moment, and like the vicious circle of the crappy economy caused by the shortage of electricity meaning that Eskom will have to pay more for its loans, meaning that prices will have to go up (again) or less maintenance and building will be possible.
But generally, better – right?
UPDATE: Here’s an alternative view though:
The improved outlook is less about what the state power utility is doing and more to do with an economic slowdown.
OK, that’s not great. But still… no loadshedding, right? #GlassHalfFull