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‘Power cuts should start easing within 10 days’, says Eskom CEO

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Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter says power cuts should start easing within the next 10 days when big generation units are expected to come back online.

The state utility ramped up power rationing to 4,000MW from 6pm on Tuesday until further notice due to generation trips at its Kendal and Lethabo plants, and has imposed a record 120 days of blackouts so far this year.

“We are doing everything possible to add megawatts to the grid,” De Ruyter told Radio Sonder Grense.

“We have started buying power from Zambia and we are looking at Mozambique and the private sector to add megawatts.”

The private sector has 6,000MW of new renewable projects in the pipeline, he said. The projects were targeted after President Cyril Ramaphosa said in July companies will be allowed to build power plants of any size without a license to meet their own needs and to sell it to the grid.

De Ruyter said it will probably take another 18 to 24 months for that capacity to come onto the network.

Eskom chair Mpho Makwana said the company’s newly appointed board will retain the management for the time being while the utility conducts an assessment of its power plants.

Makwana, who was named along with most of the new board last week, said the plants’ performance will be reviewed over the next 30 to 60 days to ascertain how to make them operational at an average of 75% of the time, a target set by public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan. Their electricity availability factor, a measure of when they can produce electricity, is less than 60%.

Anglo American and Electricite de France agreed to form jointly owned Envusa Energy to develop wind and solar projects in SA.

In a first step, Envusa will develop more than 600MW of wind and solar projects, the companies said on Tuesday. Funding will include debt-financing and construction is expected to begin next year.

A landmark $8.5bn (R150bn) deal to help wean SA off its dependence on coal is hanging in the balance amid fraught negotiations with rich donor countries over how the funds should be spent.

The climate finance deal, unveiled at UN-led talks in Glasgow last year, was hailed as a prototype for helping coal-dependent developing countries transition to cleaner energy sources. Its success or failure could have a knock-on effect at next month’s COP27 summit in Egypt, which is expected to focus on the financing needs of poorer countries adapting to a warming atmosphere.

Business activity in SA’s manufacturing industry fell to a 14-month low in September as electricity-supply constraints disrupted operations.

A gauge tracking business activity declined to 38.5 from 50.6 in August, Absa said. That’s the lowest monthly reading since July 2021, when deadly riots, looting and arson disrupted supply chains, industrial output and demand for manufactured goods. An outcome below 50 signals contraction.

Source: TimesLIVE

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