Tag Archive | Medupi

Eskom crosses its fingers

Medupi:  Eskom on final run ….

eskomCollin Matjila, interim CEO of Eskom, told a joint parliamentary portfolio committee on energy and public enterprises that Eskom had learned a number of lessons in the building of coal-based power stations, probably the most important being the need for a suitably qualified and capacitated contractor oversight team to handle the complexity and extent of any project such as the construction of Medupi.

Although power from the new plant was to be introduced to the grid this Christmas Eve from Medupi, and incrementally more onwards, full power would only be happening at stable levels by winter 2015.

With both the boiler contractor and control and instrumentation contractor problems causing delays and a strike affecting between 40% -70% of the workforce, the 6-month delay had been recognised by both treasury and cabinet in financial re-calculations.

Minister notes….

Also addressing the committee, public enterprises minister, Lynne Brown, stressed that in her view “the corner had been turned at Medupi”.  She said that cabinet had approved a package to “support a strong and sustainable Eskom to ensure energy security”.   The inter-ministerial committee, which was comprised of finance, public enterprises and cooperative governance and traditional affairs, had now reviewed all options before them both on electricity and energy generally.

Eskom then stated that the second unit, Kusile would be added to the grid in a start-up process in the first half of 2015 and Ingula, the third and smaller hydro unit, in the second half of 2015.

No rest with summer

Matjila cautioned MPs that additional capacity would be needed during summer this year, despite any reduced seasonal demand.   This was because of the need to accommodate “planned” outages, which were set to take up 10% of full capacity being supplied.

By referring to full capacity, this was a theoretical maximum availability, Matjila said, subject to the reality of unplanned outages.  Eskom warned of a possible inability to meet demand throughout the remainder of the financial year, as distinct from seasonal timing, if it should be financially restrained in its use of it expensive-to-run standby open-cycle gas-turbines.

More price increases

Recovery of unbudgeted costs in this area for the year under review were part of the problem facing Eskom, Matjila said, and the recent announcement by the national electricity regulator, Nersa, of a rise of just short of 13% in electricity prices in April 2015 was no doubt motivated by this factor amongst others.

However, he said, Eskom may also have to deal with a higher maintenance in December, including half station shutdowns for three stations. He qualified this in a later Engineering News report which stated that 32 of Eskom’s 87 coal-fired generating units required “major surgery”, whilst four were in a “critical condition”.   November was also critical, he said, if all did not go as planned.

Despite continued questioning by parliamentarians on the state of progress at the second “New Build” power station, Kusile, no specific answers were provided by either Eskom or the minister other than the fact that Kusile had experienced “protected” and “unprotected” strikes in contractor workforces during the year.

Strikes

Matjila stressed that the workforce was back on site at both locations. “Additional resources had been mobilised to mitigate delays, he said, and additional shifts have been introduced 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to accelerate progress on site.  Eskom was liaising with contractors to deal with any issues which had the potential of causing further delays, he said.

In his overall concluding remarks, Matjila said a five-point recovery plan had been introduced to improve the performance of the Eskom coal-fired fleet, with the utility having reaffirmed its objective of “returning to an 80-10-10 operating model, which implied 80% plant availability, 10% planned outages and 10% unplanned events across a period of a year.”

Outside inputs

On the situation with regard to the independent power producers (IPP) programme, Matjila said he was aware that the department of energy (DoE) had processed  over one thousand applications during the three IPP 3-stage bidding process and this had stretched DoE resources considerably.

He said it had been a complicated process to secure sustainable competitive prices in respect of the particular technologies involved. What had to be also factored in was the burden of hidden costs of storage and back-up which had to be borne by Eskom, not the IPPs.

Also the proximity and availability of energy supplies on the supply in providing the “appropriate infrastructure” was being dealt with and overcome.

It was important, Matjila said in conclusion, for Eskom to ensure that potential and online suppliers met grid code requirements and he was aware that some IPPs were struggling with this process.
Other articles in this category or as background
http://parlyreportsa.co.za/energy/medupi-key-short-term-energy-crisis/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za/cabinetpresidential/eskom-says-medupi-and-kusile-will-have-great-local-benefits/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za/energy/eskom-warns-on-costs-of-new-air-quality-rules/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za/energy/dpe-reports-on-eskom-and-it-utilities-to-parliament/

Posted in Electricity, Energy, Enviro,Water, Facebook and Twitter, Finance, economic, Fuel,oil,renewables, Land,Agriculture, LinkedIn, Public utilities, Trade & Industry0 Comments

Medupi is key to short term energy crisis

Eskom bogged down with Medupi …

medupiActing director general of the department of energy (DoE), Tseliso Maqubela, told Parliament before it went into short recess that once Eskom’s new Medupi power station starts supplying the grid the country would have “turned the corner”.

“It is well known we are challenged on electricity”, he said, adding that the fresh view is being taken on the independent system marketer’s operators (ISMO) system which would contribute to recovery in the medium term through the addition of independent power producers (IPPs).

DG of energy policy, planning and clean energy, Ompi Aphane, in his presentation told parliamentarians that, as per the State of Nation Address (SONA), “vigorous attention is now being given to the establishment of the operator’s office to implement independent power supplies.

Financial  certainty, they say

On the subject of infrastructure build generally in the electricity sector, financial certainty was now being restored in the energy industry, Maqubela said, with the result that R120m in energy investment is now planned, “some of which has already come in and projects started.”

The overall plan was to divide power supply between Eskom and IPPs on a 70-30 basis through the national grid by 2020, decisions on refining and gas replacing diesel also being necessary in the short term in terms of a revised energy mix to meet future demand.

Other immediate focus areas for DoE were to increase access to electricity; increase “the momentum” of the installation of solar units; finalise the integrated energy plan; address maintenance and refurbishment programmes; “strengthen” the liquid fuels industry and facilitate decision taken on the nuclear programme.

Interface problems

A major issue being tackled was the in the area of household connections, according to the DoE presentation. Dr Wolsey Barnard, in charge of energy projects and programmes, explained that whilst Eskom was often bringing power to an area, the municipal backbone installations were either not ready or municipal skills were lacking.  DoE had recognised the problem and was busy trying to bridge this gap, he said, with skills training or by working on temporary permissions from municipalities with Eskom assistance.

However, Dr Barnard said it was encouraging that whereas the position ten years ago could have been described as hopeless, the situation was now specific and targeted to small areas, in most cases the most difficult remaining.

At the moment, 1,5m additional households will be connected by 2019 but as this is still insufficient to meet the target of universal electrification by 2025, additional funds are now being allocated by the state and plans made.

Barnard calls for co-operation

In order to achieve this, it was essential, Dr Barnard said, that the modalities regarding national, provincial and local government powers be revised on the ability for Eskom to assist in view of the lack of skills and the handling of appropriation funding.

He called for urgent attention to the fact that power installation funding by DoE to municipalities should be “ring fenced” and accounted for. This area had to be focused upon urgently, he noted.

He said that too many times Eskom had supplied power to an area only to be told by a municipality that there were no funds for distribution boxes or no skilled persons available to connect lines.  Dr Barnard said he was aware that the economic planning department were “in the picture” and legislation was planned despite the constitutional barriers but again he wanted to emphasise that this issue had to be resolved urgently.

EFF members asked if there were plans to specifically assist the unemployed with electricity connections and wanted a list of all power cuts to the different areas and the reasons for these.

Priorities from both sides

ANC member Ms Makwbele-Mashele asked the DG that with all the emphasis on “greening”, the high cost of gearing industry to meet new emissions and pollutants standards and the recently introduced air quality regulations, whether in his opinion these issues were hindering the country’ energy and industrial development.  The ANC also asked, as the fuel price seemed to be “out of our hands”, whether Sasol could increase production locally.

The DA wanted more detail on the exact steps at present underway to increase co-generation of energy to solve the immediate energy crisis.   This was in the light of the fact that the ISMO process had initially failed simply because DoE could not foresee the end state of independent power production, they said.    They also felt that a paper was needed to get clarity on how the integrated energy plan and the integrated resources plan locked into the NDP.

The DoE promised to respond to MPs questions in writing through the chair as the minister of energy had taken up most of the debating time available.

Other articles in this category or as background

  • http://parlyreportsa.co.za//bee/electricity-connections-target-far-short/
  • http://parlyreportsa.co.za//energy/electricity-tariffs-billiton-tells-its-side/
  • http://parlyreportsa.co.za//uncategorized/major-metros-open-up-on-electricity-tariffs/
  • http://parlyreportsa.co.za//energy/eskom-issues-alerts/

Posted in cabinet, Electricity, Energy, Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn, Special Recent Posts0 Comments

DPE reports on Eskom and it’s utilities to Parliament

Eskom issue raises capitalisation….

The department of public enterprises’s, Tshediso Matona, director general of DPE, clearly indicated that the apparently now solved labour deadlock at the Eskom Medupi power station was seriously occupying minds in DPE when public enterprises director generals were responding to Parliament on state-owned companies (SOCs) in the light of the state of nation address (SONA) recently delivered by President Zuma.

Indications were that the troubled Eskom construction site and the residue of issues arising was and probably still is of greater concern to DPE than issues at such as utilities as SABC and SAA, also reported on.

If the consumer doesn’t pay the lot……

On the recapitalization of SOCs generally, Matona said that if Eskom recapitalisation was not going to come from the tariffs, alternative capitalisation would have to be resorted to. This was also the problem with South African Airways and other SOCs. These companies needed sufficient capitalization to carry out their mandates and it was a matter that involved DPE greatly in their discussions with treasury.

Matona told parliamentarians that focus was being given to the challenges faced by Eskom at the Medupi power station, where work was at one stage completely stopped due to strikes. Mr Matona told the Committee that much had to be done to improve communication lines. Latest news was that Eskom had moved their financial director, Paul O’Flaherty on site.

Complexity of contracts

The minister of public enterprises was coming up with several initiatives to resolve the crises in the long term, said Matona, much of the problem being the complex nature of the projects and the fact that their complexity made them prone to delays.

Dialogue had therefore to be encouraged and he commented that “the minister was playing a major role.”

Main plan is NDP

On general issues, DPE said it was heavily focussed on “articulating the relationship between the National Development Plan (NDP) as instructed in SONA”.  Matona said this did not mean abandoning such other instruments as the New Growth Path and Industrial Policy Action Plan but that the NDP acted as a “vision” for the department and all plans and visions were being integrated.

Other issues discussed by Matona with parliamentarians dealt with the recapitalization of state-owned companies and the development of further broad based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) initiatives within DPE.

Land restitution

Matona said that there was a need for a complete change of approach with regards to land restitution. The overcoming of current administrative and bureaucratic blockages was a most important item. It was to be dealt with shortly. On the issue of the compliance to 30 day payment of creditors rule, Matona said that this had been particularly successful and DPE was proud of what they achieved.

On the issue of investment programmes, Matona said DPE was setting up a “project management office” in collaboration with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) to monitor infrastructure projects. DPE was now to call a supply development summit in March 2013 at which Eskom and Transnet would present their plans in terms of supplier development with DBSA present.

Posted in Electricity, Energy, Finance, economic, Labour, Public utilities, Trade & Industry, Transport0 Comments

Eskom MYPD electricity call is to sustain ratings

 Eskom stands by its MYPD3 asking price…….

Brian Dames, CEO, Eskom, on their Multi-Year Price Determination (MYPD 3) application to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA), told parliamentarians of the trade and industry portfolio committee that price increases were necessary. He said that on one hand they had to have a respectable balance sheet to obtain development money whilst on the other hand, Eskom was coming from a background where investment activity had been inactive over the years.

“To keep the lights on”, Dames said, “there is now a cost.”

Electricity currently below cost

He said that because of historical reasons, electricity was currently charged at below cost-reflective levels and was not sustainable. Electricity prices needed now to have a “transition to cost-reflective levels to support a sustainable electricity industry that had resources to maintain operations and build new generating capacity, guaranteeing future security of supply.”

Dames said that Eskom had also recently issued an “interim integrated report” for the six months ended 30 September 2012 setting out a contextual review of the company’s overall performance from 1 April 2012 and in the light of this had presented the NERSA application.

He said that the current MYPD 2 was ending and consequently Eskom had to submit such an application to NERSA to determine the country’s electricity price adjustment for 2013/14.

However, this time Eskom was proposing a five-year determination for MYPD 3, running from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2018, which would ensure a more gradual and predictable price path for households, businesses, investors and the country as a whole.

Eskom’s five-year revenue request translated into average electricity price increases of 13% a year for Eskom’s own needs, plus 3% to support the introduction of Independent Power Producers (IPPs), giving a total of 16%, representing a total price increase from the current 61 cents per kilowatt-hour (c/kWh) in 2012/13 to 128c/kW h in 2017/18.

Balance sought between needs of Eskom and poor

The impact of the price increase on the economy had been considered in addition to guidance from the President’s State of the Nation Address in which he requested Eskom to consider a price path which would ensure that Eskom and the industry remained financially viable and sustainable, but which remained affordable especially for the poor. Dames said he believed that Eskom’s application achieved an appropriate balance.

In addressing the impact of price increases, Dames said that Eskom believed that poor households should be protected from the impact of electricity price increases through targeted, transparent cross-subsidisation in accordance with a national cross-subsidy framework.

A failure to achieve cost-reflective prices would sooner rather than later impact on South Africa’s economy and its growth prospects, he said.

MPs query what electricity giant has as objective

A number of opposition MPs disagreed and queried the entire cost-reflective process used by Eskom, saying that the tariffs proposed by Eskom rather posed a dangerous threat to economic growth and the future of business in South Africa, as well as job creation.

Whilst Eskom wanted a 4% targeted return in the medium term and 8% in the final year, they said, JSE majors had returned on average 6.6% per year in the last ten years. They asked if Eskom was attempting to build a balance sheet that compared with global corporates just in order to get loans.

The main thrust of certain opposition MPs queries was the sacrifice in growth rate, damage to business development, to job creation. ANC MPs complained of the effect on the poor.

Paul O’Flaherty, finance director at Eskom, said that the only sources of funding available to Eskom were debt; equity injected from Government and operating profit from its revenue. Eskom had requested for an additional equity injection from the state but that was not forthcoming leaving generation of debt to them and raising enough operating profits from its revenue.

He said in terms of depreciation factors on the figures shown, such was regulated by Nersa and that there was no way of getting around the fact that Eskom had to pay its way. According to the cash flow predictions, a trillion rand of revenue would be needed to pay for primary energy costs, employee costs and demand side management, repairs and maintenance.

Eskom must be seen as viable entity for capital programmes

Eskom’s capital program over the next five years included finishing the Kusile power station repayments, plus a further R360bn in debts, which meant that R200bn had to be raised from the market. This had to be done against a successful balance sheet. Eskom got investment status because of Government uplifting, he said. It had to show its cash metrics were moving towards a more sustainable company, he said.

Dames added that Eskom required on its equity a higher return than the sovereign because of the risk involved and in terms of the cost of debt in a normal environment and that the cost of Eskom borrowing was more expensive that the sovereign borrowing. The cost of debt had been arrived at by Eskom working with NERSA as well by as KPMG and the costs included in the MYPD 3 application were appropriate, in his opinion.

Mohamed Adam the legal representative at Eskom said on questions relating to the impact of price increases on the manufacturing sector, that the impact of price increase on the economy had been considered in addition to ensuring that both Eskom and the industry remained financially viable and sustainable, but which remained affordable especially for the poor. There was a threshold at which Eskom would also face which amounted to a tipping point if prices were too low.

Unbundling of Eskom not an option

In conclusion, Mr Dames said that the submission of the MYPD 3 application was the beginning of a public process and he rejected MPs suggestions that Eskom was a monopoly that should be broken up.    He said that any unbundling of Eskom accompanied by the introduction of private participants would fail to bring in lower prices since higher returns would be needed by private generators and distributors.

As to whether Eskom would be willing to supply certain municipal customers,  Dames said that local authorities had a constitutional right to supply the customer within their jurisdiction and  Eskom was unable to supply a number of municipal customers anyway based on their relation to the network. Also municipalities would lose revenue.

Dames said that the growth rates in the MYPD 3 submissions were lower than those required in the New Growth Path and the National Development Plan and whilst the energy reserve margin might be held in the immediate future, it would disappear if new generation capacity was not brought on line after the completion of Kusile and if there was growth. The current build programme did not address all the capacity needs of South Africa into the future.

EIUG figures do not reflect current picture

Dames, in addressing the claim by Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG) that Eskom’s costs of maintenance were higher than they should be, said a considerable quantity of EUIG’s comments were based on inaccurate figures.

Much in the way of numbers quoted by EIUG were based upon “aspirational targets achieved during the 1990s when Eskom’s power stations were a lot younger”, it was said. The constrained power system now existing did not now allow for such philosophical assumptions. There was a balance which Eskom now needed to strike in practical realities as far as keeping the lights on was concerned.

Posted in Electricity, Energy, Finance, economic, Land,Agriculture, Public utilities, Trade & Industry0 Comments

Eskom sheds light on future intentions

annual report 2011/12

Eskom, whilst it may have some problems, is in a very healthy position and has electrified more than 155,000 homes this year.  It has, as promised, “kept the lights on” in South Africa but would fail in its New Build programme unless it had the backing of government financial support.

This was stated to the public enterprises portfolio committee in Parliament by CEO Brian Dames when presenting to Parliament the Eskom 2011/2 annual report figures in a presentation to back up the published annual report and financial statements.

He said that any funding issues had been resolved, particularly as far as funding for future projects was concerned, as had labour problems at Medupi power station building site.

Dames said that although sales had increased only by a marginal 0,2%, the increase in tariff allowed had resulted in revenue growing from R91.4bn in 2010-11 to R114.7bn in 2011-12.        Since March, there had actually been a decline in sales, reflecting the impact which the world recession was having on the South African economy.

Profit amounted to R13.248bn, giving a 3,7% return on average total assets, mainly as a result of NERSA having approved a 16% increase, providing therefore an economic benefit of R11bn this year to the country’s coffers.

Paul O’Flaherty, financial director, compared the final results to NERSA’s targets for 2011/12.   NERSA had estimated a higher operating profit than eventually emerged. The lesser figure came about because of a reduction in sales due to a depressed economy but with cost savings of over R4bn, a net profit figure of R13.25bn was finally reflected in the figures which exceeded NERSA’s expectations.

O’Flaherty, however, gave some warning signals for the coming year as far as the consumer was concerned, bearing in mind that the utility had originally applied to NERSA for a 29% hike in tariffs in order to fund its power generating programme over what was then a shorter period.

He told committee members that as coal were such a large proportion of Eskom’s costs and with coal prices being unpredictable, inputs at their coal fired power generating stations could easily rise above the rate of inflation and in such as case the consumer would have to bear the brunt.

As things stood, coal costs had gone up by 29% during the year. He also said that Eskom had finally negotiated an increase of 8,1% for the workforce and this would add to input costs throughout the group.

Brian Dames said that a major issue in the coming year was to convert coal deliveries from road to rail as far as this was possible and Eskom had set a target last year earlier to move 8,2m tons by rail. So far, Eskom was looking at a figure of 8,5m tons having been achieved. This was encouraging, he said.

Dames told parliamentarians that the special tariffs enjoyed by BHP Billiton for their aluminium-smelter, originally set when Eskom had excess capacity were currently under negotiation.      Eskom had also recently been able to renegotiate more favourable contracts with zinc plants in Namibia who had until now enjoyed tariffs below cost of production.

He warned that as tariffs inevitably increased, such would be translated into debt problems, particularly at municipal level. Already it was a challenge was to manage the Soweto debt, which stood about R4.5bn at the end of the last financial year.

Dames said that NERSA had agreed, as part of recent talks, that Eskom would be allowed price increases in the future and would also be allowed to revalue its assets to allow for a higher level of depreciation. The cost of replacing Eskom’s assets today would be R500bn, compared to the historical cost of R290bn but as its debt grew, so would its financing costs.

Eskom’s rating with government support was “BBB+” and without government backing its rating would be lower. This was not a possible scenario, he said, for the country or Eskom.

Eskom’s build programme would continue as planned, the committee was told, which would deliver an additional 11 256MW by the time the Kusile coal fired power station came on stream in 2019. What would happen after that, Dames said, depended entirely on the integrated resource plan (IRP) being drawn up by the department of energy (DOE) in discussion with stakeholders.

Both DOE and Eskom are locked into investigative debate on the financial prospects for Eskom should it be stripped of the national transmission grid in order that independent power producers may enter the energy supply chain, all regulated by the presently halted ISMO Bill. Such matters directly affect the IRP and all future consequences in energy planning.

Posted in Electricity, Energy, Finance, economic, Land,Agriculture, Public utilities, Trade & Industry0 Comments

Eskom says Medupi and Kusile will have great local benefits

Paul O’Flaherty, Financial Director of Eskom, told the parliamentary committee on economic development, that the building of South Africa’s new Medupi and Kusile power stations ranked among the top five power generation projects in the world in terms of energy capacity.

He said that Eskom’s “build programme” would contribute considerably to skills development and facilitate manufacturing capability in South Africa.   Competition for skills was fierce, both internationally and locally and the reality was, O’Flaherty said, that Eskom currently needed to spend R450bn for six years until 2017, as part of the government  Integrated Resource Plan, which was a considerable responsibility.

The funding plan to be serviced was R300 billion to 2017, as at 31 December 2011.

Medupi and Kusile were massive in their scale of construction, he said.  Parts and cement weighing the same as 14 super-tankers would be transported over land and steel, enough to build five of the world’s tallest buildings, would be used – all to produce a generation capacity of 10GW. During  the construction of Medupi, Kusile and a third plant being built called Ingula, about one half of the programme would involve the use of local content thereby directly benefiting the SA economy.

O’Flaherty said it was probable that just Medupi would touch the lives of 160 000 people in Limpopo province alone and would be of great support to local and national infrastructure.    Each project, he said, would in its own way immeasurably impact local towns through local spending and investment as each contract proceeded.

The project summary of Medupi power station, for example, was that it was a six-unit coal-fired power station with a planned capacity of 4 764MW, the projected cost being R98,9bn, O’Flaherty said.  Construction had commenced in March 2007, with the first unit planned to supply power to the grid between May 2013 and September 2013, and subsequent units at six to nine-month intervals thereafter.

Medupi had been delayed for various reasons, which O’Flaherty enlarged upon being mostly the boiler foundation re-design problems involving foundation work, consequent re-worked steels structurings and issues with regard to matters with the boiler contractors themselves.

Kusile, situated close to the existing Kendal power station near the town of Witbank in Mpumalanga province, is also a six-unit coal-fired power station with a planned capacity of 4 800MW and the projected project cost to completion is R121bn, all of which is having a great impact on nearby Delmas, O’Flaherty said.  The first unit planned is to be commissioned in December 2014, with subsequent Units 2 and 3 at 12-month intervals and units 4, 5 & 6 at eight-month intervals thereafter.

Ingula power station is a four-unit pump storage power station, he said, with a planned capacity of 4 800MW. The projected cost to completion was R21,9bn, with an estimated 7% impact on the GDP of nearby Ladysmith. Construction had commenced in mid-2006, and the first unit was planned to be commissioned in January 2014.

In answer to MP’s questions on the future of Medupi and Kusile power stations and how this would affect generating reserves, O’Flaherty said that providing demand grew at between the projected and expected 2 to 3 per cent, then Eskom would have more than a 20 per cent reserve margin by the time it completed the second power station, Kusile, both having a life span of about 40 – 50 years as was the case with most power stations.

Posted in Cabinet,Presidential, Energy, Finance, economic, Labour, Land,Agriculture, Mining, beneficiation, Public utilities, Trade & Industry0 Comments


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