Eskom has burned 571,295,617 liters of diesel at a cost of R6.4 billion in the first five months of this year.
Written questions from GOOD MP Brett Herron responded to Minister Pravin Gordhan for public companies, with 273 million liters consumed in Eskom Ankerlig and Gourikwa’s Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGTs) between January and May.
According to Gordhan, this cost about R3. 84 billion.
“Eskom consumed 27 times as much diesel in the first five months of this year as in the entire 2016/2017 fiscal year, at the height of the state takeover,” said GOOD.
Herron said the startling figure rules out Friday’s revelation by Eskom CEO André de Ruyter that the utility spent an additional R1.54 billion on diesel in June alone.
” If you add that to the R3. According to Gordhan, R84 billion was spent in the first five months of the year, meaning that Eskom burned R5.3 billion worth of diesel in the first half of the year.
“Two years ago, Gordhan announced that that the power utility consumed 10 million liters of diesel in 2016/2017 to keep its open-cycle gas turbines running. The cost of diesel for the country was R340 million in FY 2016/2017 and R320 million in 2017/2018. To put these numbers in perspective, that’s R320-340 million five and six years ago compared to R5.3 billion in the first six months of this year,” he said.
At a press conference on Friday, De Ruyter said the overspending on diesel was partly due to Eskom having to use more fuel than expected to avoid load dumps, but also to high global crude oil prices.
Gordhan said Eskom implemented load shedding for 50 days from January 1st to June 2nd.
“Five days were in stage 1, 35 days were in stage 2, four days were in stage 3 and six days were in Stage 4,” he said.
Herron said Eskom’s reliance on burning diesel was revealed at Friday’s briefing by executives, citing the ability to source enough diesel supplies , obviously considered one of the most important performance indicators.
Er said South Africa’s renewable energy production needs to be accelerated.
Meanwhile, Cape Town is relying on its Steenbras hydroelectric power station to provide additional electricity to the grid to protect ‘Shiel d’ businesses and residents from the full impact of Level 6 blackouts.
On Friday, the 180-megawatt pumped storage system reduced load shedding from Level 6 to Level 4.
“We consider load shedding above Level 4 as one acute socioeconomic emergency that requires far-reaching, preventive measures,” Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said last week.
“At levels of load shedding Above Level 4, critical infrastructure — including power, water, sewage, and communications — is at an even more serious risk than usual. These devices and devices are simply not designed to be turned off and on with such regularity, nor do they contain batteries capable of providing power for more than 10 hours a day. Long periods of downtime also make this infrastructure more vulnerable to theft and vandalism, which puts a heavy strain on our law enforcement resources.”
Load shedding ramped up to Level 6 also impacts water and sanitation infrastructure such as wastewater from pumping stations and wastewater treatment plants, all of which Require electricity to function.
Cape Town Water and Wastewater Directorate has taken various measures to meet the challenges and keep the system functioning during ongoing power outages.
Permanent generators were built into sewage treatment plants – 85 major priority water and sewage pumping stations have been fitted with permanent generators “as a measure to increase the resilience of water and sewage supply systems,” the city said this week.
Smaller sewage pumping stations, the could overflow in the event of a power failure were equipped with telemetric early warning alarm systems that alert maintenance personnel, who can intervene to prevent or reduce spills by using mobile generators to power the pumps.
“However, with heavy load shedding [large areas without power], it’s logistical It is not possible to completely prevent flooding, in which case response teams are doing their best. Containing and cleaning up such flows is extremely important.
“Most of the city’s water supply is drawn by gravity from higher ground Fed dams. Water treatment plants and critical pumping stations are equipped with standby generators to ensure clean drinking water can continue to be provided during load shedding.
“Some higher elevation areas may experience low pressure or supply disruptions in the event of a power outage affecting the local pumping station is affected,” the city warned.
The water is purified at 12 treatment plants across the city, each with an on-site laboratory to test the drinking water every two hours daily. Water flows through a 10,800 km network of pumps, reservoirs and pipelines to reach the city’s faucets.
Various infrastructure and control system upgrades are planned, the city added.
” Should recreational waters or beaches be affected by such sewage spills, the City will also take steps to close the body of water and warn users of potential health hazards by posting signage and other appropriate notices. However, residents are urged to remain proactively cautious and take steps to avoid entering potentially contaminated water bodies until the extended load-shedding period is over.”
“Load-shedding affects residents and businesses alike. As a city, we need to ensure that our water and sanitation services continue to function as optimally as possible and that the impact on the environment is prevented or minimized as much as possible,” said Zahid Badroodien, Mayor’s Committee on Water and Sanitation.
Support independent journalism by subscribing to The Sunday Times. Only R20 for the first month.