Eskom mulls integration of Vgbe report recommendations into revised recovery plan but hints at ‘inaccuracies’

11th March 2024 By: Terence Creamer - Creamer Media Editor

Eskom mulls integration of Vgbe report recommendations into revised recovery plan but hints at ‘inaccuracies’

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa says Eskom’s new CEO, Dan Marokane, will offer a comprehensive outline of a revised generation recovery plan that will seek to integrate recommendations arising from various expert reports into the state of the coal power stations, including the hard-hitting Vgbe report commissioned by the National Treasury.

However, Eskom Generation’s Eric Shunmagum also reported “some inaccuracies” with the report’s findings, which required further engagement with the National Treasury before the recommendations could be integrated.

Without going into detail, Shunmagum indicated that the inaccuracies related to the report’s assessment of the water treatment plants at Kusile and Medupi.

“The report is being embraced.

“However, there are some inaccuracies in the report, which we have formally responded to, and we will continue to work on with the National Treasury team.”

The Vgbe-led consortium assessed 14 coal stations between March and May last year and its subsequent report, which was released only last month, attributed their poor performance to a “dysfunctional” and overly complex management system within Eskom Generation.

The report concluded that the solution lay in conducting operations and maintenance in line with industry standards and proposed a decentralisation of decision-making, including by providing power station managers with “full budget responsibility and accountability”.

It also recommended the “immediate establishment of an interim team of independent experts (outside of Eskom) that reports directly to National Treasury” for a period of between one-and-a-half and two years.

Ramokgopa reported that the Ministry and Eskom had interrogated the report extensively, and he claimed that many of the issues raised were already being tackled under the prevailing generation recovery plan and through the National Energy Crisis Committee.

He also stressed that the Vgbe report was but one report that was being considered by Marokane and Eskom as part of the review of the ‘Generation Operational Recovery Plan’.

The other assessments being considered included reports by WSP and the World Bank, as well as a Ministerial Diagnostic report.

When Marokane officially assumed the role of CEO on March 1, chairperson Mteto Nyati indicated that the review of the Generation Operational Recovery Plan had been set as a priority for his first 100 days.

On whether independent experts will be appointed as recommended, Ramakgopa said it would be a decision for Eskom to make as it was a “management decision”.

However, he noted that various experts had already been seconded to support Eskom under the partnership with Business for South Africa, with a particular focus on the six power stations of Duvha, Kendal, Kusile, Majuba, Matla and Tutuka.