SA electricity demand to pick up in 2010

27th August 2009 By: Christy van der Merwe

South Africa's power utility Eskom on Thursday said it anticipated an increase in electricity demand in South Africa in the 2009/10 year, as the economy strengthened.

However, Eskom CEO Jacob Maroga, assured delegates gathered at the company's year-end results that load shedding was not part of the future prognosis, or at least the likelihood of load shedding was "very, very low".

Maroga said that the Confederations Cup, which took place in June was a good dry run for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and the utility was confident it would have adequate power supply for the soccer spectacular next year.

He maintained that the utility was "in a better space than last year", as it had built up coal stockpiles and conducted plant maintenance.

He reiterated that the company had used the crisis of the economic downturn to "take a step back", internalise and reflect on the role of the organisation. The economic slowdown reduced demand and created additional opportunities for maintenance.

"Out of this comes our intention to embed our aspirations to the country's aspirations," he added.

"Coal stocks have been built to satisfactory levels; maintenance in generation, transmission and distribution has been intensified; and some modest progress has been made in increasing the energy efficiency of our customers," said Eskom chairperson Bobby Godsell.

Eskom noted that load shedding had not taken place since April 2008, but emphasised that a continued focus on energy efficiency would be required to improve the reserve margin.

Godsell commended the Eskom executives, adding that he felt a huge debt of gratitude was owed to the executives considering that the country had not experienced load shedding since early last year.