Eskom: Electricity demand to increase

The demand for electricity is set to increase by about 2% in 2011 as the country’s economy recovers, Eskom CEO Brian Dames said on Thursday.

“Therefore, we are targeting every day a 2% improvement in output for the next two years,” he told media in Johannesburg.

Eskom will take a different route to balancing the gap between increasing electricity demand and its supply. “We have started work and we are monitoring the system. We will start doing things differently.”

He said the power utility has asked its large industrial customers, including mines, to reduce their energy use by 10%.

Eskom will also ensure that its power stations improve their outputs by buying better quality coal from suppliers.

Under pressure
The power utility has enough capacity to light up the country for the summer of 2011, he said.

He said, however, capacity had been under pressure in December when two units at Koeberg were out of service.

“The loss of half of Koeberg’s generating capacity reduced our flexibility to do maintenance at our coal-fired power stations, and some maintenance has had to be postponed.

“This in turn increases the risk of unplanned outages at these stations.”

Heavy rains, which drenched the country, have also added more pressure to Eskom’s generating capacity as they have affected coal handling and supply.

“Eskom has resolved not to return to the disruptive load-shedding, and it recognises it cannot achieve this on its own.”

Dames called on households throughout the country to take heed of warnings that aired on national television stations.

“If you are not using it, switch it off.” — Sapa

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