Friday, January 28 2022 Sign In   |    Register
 

News Quick Search


 

News


Front Page
Power News
Gas News
Today's News
Yesterday's News
Week of Jan 24
Week of Jan 17
Week of Jan 10
Week of Jan 03
Week of Dec 27
By Topic
By News Partner
News Customization
Feedback

 

Pro Plus(+)


Add on products to your professional subscription.
  • Energy Archive News
  •  



    Home > News > Gas News > News Article

    Share by Email E-mail Printer Friendly Print

    Eskom’s maintenance parts procurement often bogged down by delays from National Treasury, says Utility’s Jan Oberholzer


    December 8, 2021 - Banele Ginindza

     

      ESKOM needed a freer hand to make decisions on parts procurement as maintenance was often bogged down just waiting for National Treasury decisions on the parts, chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer said yesterday.

      Oberholzer said at a virtual panel discussion on “Reliability maintenance for boilers and associated power generation plant” that boiler leaks, excessive need to use the diesel of open-cycle gas turbines (OCGT), an energy availability factor of only 64 percent rather than the ideal of 85 percent, and other unplanned maintenance and breakdowns were throwing a spanner in the works of efficient power production.

      He said Eskom’s maintenance parts procurement was often bogged down by delays from National Treasury.

      Generation performance from all power plants had dropped to about 60 percent from 85 percent in 2010, while efforts to save money by using least cost methods resulted in having to use “Tata parts on a Mercedes-Benz,” he said.

      He said maintenance plans should be planned up to 24 months in advance, but Eskom could not do this because of a misalignment of a number of factors, the biggest of which was availability of cash in hand to procure necessary spares.

      "With the skills base, it is the same matter of requiring Mercedes-Benz mechanics and Mercedes parts, we can’t have a situation when we have to take off the brakes from the car, then we are told you can’t open the brakes,“ he said in relation to their problems of sourcing qualified personnel, a problem that Eskom faces due to a continual loss of skilled staff.

      Eskom needs at least R11 billion a year for maintenance, but was having to make do with R4bn.

      Oberholzer said the impact of unplanned maintenance and higher breakdowns last month resulted in the diesel bill climbing to R1bn – much higher than the R340m used in October – as Eskom relied more on the OCGTs to produce power.

      He said “self-inflicted wounds” included the Medupi Unit 4 generator that blew up in July, and breakdowns in vacuum coolers. Sixty-four out of 288 coolers had broken down at Matimba Power station, which could immediately take 2000kW off the grid, as they were being fixed.

      “Procurement does not help if people sitting in a 3mx3m office in Pretoria have to make decisions about funds, and they have no clue as to what is going on out there in the actual operations. I don’t believe the system where National Treasury is making the procurement decisions is the right one,” he said.

      Pondering on a question of extra capacity from renewable and embedded generation, Oberholzer said the utility was talking to the private sector for battery storage capacity which could help in storing any excesses.

      A bigger issue was setting up additional transmission lines, 800 000 kilometres of which was needed to transport the additional power. Part of the solution he suggested was that Eskom open up its land for Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to generate from, and then transmit to the National grid.

      “We would need to harvest the land we already own and avail it to IPPs to generate from. We would need Nersa to come to the table about how they can come on board about that,” he said.

      He said one recent positive factor was that outage duration had improved.

      “This is not a train coming at us, we will turn this around. We have dedicated colleagues who put in their all, they do not deserve the abuse and the insults that they get,” he said.

      banele.ginindza@inl.co.za

      BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

    TOP

    Other Articles - International


    TOP

       Home  -  Feedback  -  Contact Us  -  Safe Sender  -  About Energy Central   
    Copyright © 1996-2022 by CyberTech, Inc. All rights reserved.
    Energy Central® and Energy Central Professional® are registered trademarks of CyberTech, Incorporated. Data and information is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended for trading purposes. CyberTech does not warrant that the information or services of Energy Central will meet any specific requirements; nor will it be error free or uninterrupted; nor shall CyberTech be liable for any indirect, incidental or consequential damages (including lost data, information or profits) sustained or incurred in connection with the use of, operation of, or inability to use Energy Central. Other terms of use may apply. Membership information is confidential and subject to our privacy agreement.