No light at the end of the power-outage tunnel

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

South Africa's power supply will continue to take strain as Eskom attempts to meet the country's ballooning demand.

Jacob Maroga, who has been Eskom's chief executive for the past three months, said at the group's yearly results presentation yesterday that though the business had experienced an an increase in sales, the rising demand of 4,9percent had triggered load shedding and outages in several areas around the country.

The demand was significantly higher than the projected 2,3percent.

"The increases in demand resulted in a number of unplanned outages, more notably at the Koeberg Power Station. Over the next five to eight years we will remain in this constrained environment," said Maroga.

Two power stations are currently under construction: the 4500 megawatt Medupi power station in Limpopo, estimated at a cost of R78,6 million, and the 5400 megawatt Bravo project in Mpumalanga, estimated at a cost of R84,4 million.

Fourteen open-cycle gas turbines will be introduced, which will cost R7,8 million. An additional R1,1million will be committed to renewable energy in the form of a 100megawatt wind-powered facility.

Industry spectators have commented on Eskom's limited focus on renewable energy, considering that the energy giant is one of the largest carbon emitters in the world.

Maroga said: "It would be difficult for us to implement a technology that would result in a 50percent increase in customer's tariffs."