Halt Operations At Kusile, Medupi, Maintain Existing Stations, Say Economists

FILE: The Medupe power station in Limpopo. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – As the crisis at Eskom deepens, some economists are suggesting that the utility halt operations at the Kusile and Medupi power stations to save costs and focus on maintaining existing stations.

Eskom has implemented power cuts for the fifth consecutive day on Thursday, announcing stage two load shedding from 8am until 10pm.

The Public Enterprises Department said on Wednesday that Eskom is technically insolvent, with the possibility of not surviving beyond April should the organisations R420 billion debt not be scrapped.

Minister Pravin Gordhan says that international experts will be roped in to probe why the power stations are experiencing infrastructure breakdowns.

Eskom is faced with aging infrastructure at most of its stations and has been struggling to complete construction at Kusile and Medupi.

The utility’s demand curve shows that the country needs less than 30,000 megawatts with a capacity of producing 44,000 megawatts.

Energy expert Roger Lilly says that work should be directed into ensuring that the old power stations are improved and working efficiently.

“We’ve got 14,000 megawatts extra we can easily do without the little bit that comes out of Kusile, because it’s not doing much at all and we’re not getting much out of Medupi currently because they have a big problem.”

Economist Azar Jamin suggests there needs to be a complete overhaul of the power utility.

“That means a change in personnel, bringing in more skilled people to run the show.”

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is expected to announce a cash injection for the utility during his budget speech next week.