Electricity system performance ‘exceeding expectations – Minister Ramokgopa

The health of South Africa's electricity system is continuing to show improvement despite the continued implementation of load shedding. This according to Minister in the Presidency for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, who was the media on the implementation of the Energy Action Plan on Tuesday. 'We have really turned the corner and I'm not suggesting that we have ended load shedding. I'm simply saying that we can see that there's light at the end of the tunnel and this is not an oncoming train but it's a system who's health continues to improve and improve at levels that even exceeded our projections and expectations. 'With the average unplanned capacity loss factor [generating unit breakdowns], we were sitting at about 14 100MW and then it went to 13 000MW the past week but what is important is that it's only on the 16th of January where were above 15 000MW…now today, we are at 12 700MW. That shows an area…that the team has invested in and we are beginning to see those returns,' he said. The mini ster revealed that over the past two weeks, available capacity has 'consistently' exceeded peak demand. However, there are reasons that load shedding continues to be implemented. The first of those is that at least 3000MW of available capacity is drawn from open cycle gas turbines 'which are burning on diesel so we have reduced our consumption of diesel…so essentially it's the true health of the system'. 'The second one is that…planned maintenance still is significantly high. We are hitting about 8000 to 9000MW of planned maintenance. 'Even with that scale of planned maintenance we still have a situation where we are able to keep load shedding at the levels of the worst, Stage 3 [or] oscillating between no load shedding to Stage 3 at the worst moment,' he said. The Minister emphasised that work continues to be done in the area of partial load losses - that is, when generating units do not produce the full capacity they were intended to. 'The area that is receiving attention is the partial load losses of 6700MW. It is our collective view…that we can do much better here. Of course some of it is a function of us exceeding our license parameters, those are areas that require attention. 'So…the net message that I am conveying is that the system continues to improve. It has exceeded our expectation if the unit measure of the expectation is the unplanned capacity loss factor of 14 500MW…we are way below that by about 1000MW despite the fact that planned maintenance is sitting at 8337MW,' Ramokgopa said. Source: South African Government News Agency