Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter says the power utility is implementing a recovery plan to get as many megawatts back on the grid as possible- but it all depends on everything going right- including resolving issues at its worst performing power station, Tutuka.
Criminality is deeply embedded in Eskom, and is very well organised, said De Ruyter.
Presenting the plan to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on Tuesday, De Ruyter said Eskom’s six worst-performing power stations would be the focus of its recovery efforts.
These stations are:
Tutuka is the worst-performing station in Eskom’s fleet, which De Ruyter said is simply unacceptable, given that there is one of the newer stations.
The station functions at an energy availability factor of 15%to 17%. The Eskom CEO said this very low. The reason for this, he is said, is that criminality is ride in the area, and the police station and its staff are under siege by criminal elements.
“The stations manager has to wear a bulletproof vest when walking the stations and is accompanied by two bodyguards. His wife has bodyguards, and his children go to school with bodyguards- all as a result of threats being made on his life,” De Ruyter said.
He said the organisation was dealing with many challenges, and criminality was high up on the list.
“Criminality (for example), we know someone has a maintenance contract for mills, there will be a rock and metal added to the coal to destroy the mills. We stopped theft of R100 million a month at Tutuka. We affected two arrests, but they were released on R500 bail the following day and the case has not been finalised,” he said.
In other instances, De Ruyter said they had to write off inventory and when they tried to implement controls by adding bar coding, it was “resisted” internally.
Tutuka was one of four power stations that saw members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) deployed to it in a bid to protect staff and infrastructure.
Source: Business Tech, IOL, image from Twitter: @KekanaMahlatsi