Urgent meeting over outages

Post Cabinet briefing at the Union Buildings, Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica addresses media. Pic:  Tyrone Arthur. 06/12/2007. © Business Day.
Post Cabinet briefing at the Union Buildings, Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica addresses media. Pic: Tyrone Arthur. 06/12/2007. © Business Day.

Sipho Masombuka

Sipho Masombuka

Minister of Minerals and Energy Buyelwa Sonjica yesterday held an urgent meeting with Eskom and the director-general of the Public Enterprises Department in Pretoria to look into the problem of power outages caused by Eskom's load shedding.

The aim of the meeting was also to assess the situation and find solutions. Sonjica met with officials from her department, led by acting Director-General Neli Magubane, Public Enterprises Director-General Portia Molefe, chairman and chief executive of Eskom Valli Moosa and Jacob Maroga respectively.

Sonjica expressed government's concern at the recent high rate of outages that the country is experiencing.

She said two factors have contributed to the supply challenges, both of which are positive and necessary - and these include the expansion of electricity services to previously unserviced areas as well as the positive growth of our country's GDP.

She said another reason for the short supply is that as previously moth-balled power stations are brought back on line, those currently in operation, which are also ageing, are run at a higher load factor (harder than normal) and sometimes this leads to systems' failure.

Sonjica urged South Africans to assist in managing the situation by actively supporting the Energy Efficiency Campaign.

Sonjica said the implementation of these measures can result in the reduction of the load and could alleviate load shedding requirements.

"Government considers the current level of load shedding in a very serious light and is looking at a number of interventions to ease the situation."

Sonjica said that there was no need to panic about future investments as has been alluded to by some.

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