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What's going on at Eskom?

Posted By Chris Reay, Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Does Eskom really want to remove 1081 white engineering resources and 2149 white Artisans from its employ to meet BEE tick box requirements while it faces the challenge of getting its assets working at a desired level of reliability? Does it think this is a valid idea in the face of a 10 year, at least, history of its assets declining in availability to the point where it has to load shed to keep it from a potential domino collapse through inability to meet demand? It is beyond comprehension that with its deplorable record of project management on the new projects and questionable operational integrity eg Majuba and Duvha events, that it can consider shedding experience and skills (of any colour) until it can convince me and any other citizen that depends on electrical energy that it has an answer to the graphic and metrics below.

 

If the above graphic does not strike alarm and concern into the reader then nothing will. In case of this being in doubt, let’s look at the goal metrics that apply to an electrical utility’s installed capacity. In the “orange“ period above, the targets were set and drove the behavior of operations and maintenance of the assets.

Uptime : 90% ; planned maintenance: 7% ; unplanned outage: 3% (This was the 90:7:3 programme)

85% was a common achievement across most of the power stations. The 7% was mandatory.

Currently we are informed that the following is being achieved (with variations, but of the order shown)

Uptime: 65% Planned maintenance: ? unplanned outage: up to 35%. Hence load-shedding.

We now have a “war room” and musical chairs in the board and executive. Load shedding is now regular, new-build costs rising and high anxiety among consumers. If you bother to review the last Eskom annual report, one can get no idea at all of the mess it is in. Great, rhetoric and wonder-numbers that convey things are going right. What we now see is an exhibition of bungling policies, incompetence and mismanagement. We are none the wiser as to the action plans. The damage to SA is a crisis.

Fellow Engineers, let’s solve this problem.

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