THE Democratic Alliance (DA) says the announcement by Eskom Chief Operations Officer Jan Oberholzer that the power utility has burned through 40 million litres of diesel so far this month highlights the urgent need for the government to heed its call for Eskom to be declared a State of Disaster.
This after the power utility’s COO, Jan Oberholzer, explained earlier that Eskom was burning a lot of diesel in its open-cycle gas turbines (OCGTs) — around two million litres a day.
Oberholzer said that, as a result, Eskom might have to increase the load-shedding level to Stage 4 in the event of further breakdowns to manage its diesel reserves.
He also admitted that it was “unsustainable” to use diesel this extensively.
The DA said the latest information from Eskom indicates that the power utility has 1 904MW offline for planned maintenance and a further 17 255MW offline from unplanned outages.
This represented approximately 37% of Eskoms’s total installed capacity.
“At a time when diesel is in short supply in South Africa and refining capacity is at an all-time low, 40 million litres represents more than R800 million that could have been utilised to add new generation to the grid. Instead, it is being used to prop up Eskom, which is increasingly unable to keep the lights on,” said the DA in a statement.
Last week, the DA submitted a request to cabinet for Eskom to be declared a state of disaster, in order to:
- Fast track the licencing and application process for new generation;
- Prioritize budgets to focus on new generation capacity; and
- Make it easier for citizens, businesses and municipalities to generate their own electricity and procure directly from independent power producers.
The DA reiterated its call for politics to be set aside and the whole of society – Eskom, IPPs, engineering bodies, civil society and the public at large – engaged in ensuring a reliable and consistent supply of electricity that meets demand.
“Load shedding is job shedding. It is past time to put an end to it,” said the party.