State-owned power utility Eskom GM Phil Khumalo says that the utility is committed to electrifying more than 3 500 households in the Madibeng local municipality, in North West, by the end of this financial year.
This announcement was made at a government bilateral meeting in June, where Khumalo said that Eskom was proposing to convert municipal customers onto prepaid meter systems in order to ensure revenue collection, as there were many municipalities still owing Eskom for the bulk supply of electricity.
Additionally, Khumalo highlighted that other interventions would be implemented to address the debt issues at municipalities. “Remedies that will address these challenges include the lending of technical assistance to municipalities, as well as introducing a revenue collection management system . . . If our proposals are accepted, municipalities will be able to deal with technical and non- technical energy losses effectively,” he said.
At the same meeting, Department of Public Enterprises Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe highlighted the State’s commitment to economic development. “There is a lot of support for youth initiatives at State entities such as Eskom, rail company Transnet, aerospace company Denel, airline company SA Express, forestry company Safcol and miner Alexkor. “These companies are at the helm to promote youth development in the country.”
Engineering News reported earlier this month that Eskom had signed Phase 2 of the Eskom Power Plant Engineering Institute (EPPEI) funding agreement, in collaboration with the universities of Cape Town, the Witwaterstrand, the North West, Pretoria, KwaZulu-Natal and Stellenbosch, and in partnership with a further seven other universities. The signing ceremony was held on July 19 at the Power-Gen and DistribuTech Africa 2016 Conference, held in Sandton.
Phase 2 of the EPPEI programme, which will run from 2017 to 2021, aims to produce 300 master’s and PhD graduates, and will focus on upskilling 1 000 students with BTech qualifications and artisanal skills.
About R155-million has been committed to the second phase of the programme, which will execute and enhance eight inter-university programmes aimed at integrating research efforts. This will create synergy between academic research and practical application, and focus on interdisciplinary solutions to technical challenges faced by Eskom.
“Specialised skills developed through the EPPEI programme will continue to help Eskom to deal with the challenges of managing ageing power stations, while delivering on its new build projects. “With the synergies between the various universities, original-equipment manufacturers and Eskom, the EPPEI is destined for outstanding results,” says Eskom generation and technology group executive Matshela Koko.