Eskom is facing a myriad of challenges, which includes a management crisis, a lack of capacity, power station build problems, and maintenance backlogs.
Four top executives at Eskom, including CEO Tshediso Matona and finance director Tsholofelo Molefe, have been suspended.
Eskom chairman Zola Tsotsi is embroiled in a battle with Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, who he says is orchestrating moves to remove him from the board.
This management crisis, the Mail & Guardian reported, has brought about a “state of paralysis” at Eskom where decision making has come to a standstill.
The City Press reported that Eskom has not renewed its purchase agreements for more capacity, and is losing the war on maintaining South Africa’s power network.
The newspaper quoted an Eskom maintenance engineer, who said “the scale of unplanned outages is so extreme that doing the planned maintenance would necessitate load shedding on a scale that would endanger the whole network”.
This is all taking place while Eskom is struggling to meet South Africa’s electricity demand.
Eskom desperately needs additional capacity, but construction at the new Medupi power station continues to face setbacks.
In the latest development, Eskom contractors fired over 1,000 workers for taking part in an illegal strike.
Labour problems are not limited to the Medupi and Kusile power stations – the National Union of Mineworkers recently said it has not ruled out a strike at Eskom. This would dump Eskom into an even deeper crisis.
Eskom may also get rid of many experienced white engineers and managers, which could cause further problems at a company already struggling with skills.
The situation at Eskom has become so dire that the utility recently conducted a nationwide blackout simulation to test how its systems would handle a total loss of power.
Here are some of the challenges faced by Eskom, which could cost South Africa dearly this winter.
Eskom CFO, financial director and other executives suspended
Eskom chairman in battle with Public Enterprises Minister
1,000 Medupi workers fired
NUM threatening strike action at Eskom
Eskom may get rid of many experienced white engineers and managers
Eskom has not renewed its purchase agreements for more capacity
Eskom is struggling to maintain its power network
Medupi and Kusile power stations behind schedule
With winter approaching, many South Africans are hoping that Eskom will resolve these issues, ensuring a steady power supply over the next few months.