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Statement by Minister Lynne Brown about the Ingula Storage Pump Scheme, 10 March

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Statement by Minister Lynne Brown about the Ingula Storage Pump Scheme, 10 March

Ladies and gentlemen, I thought I should today provide you with an update on Eskom. I have always maintained that the turnaround of Eskom hinges on leadership stability, disciplined maintenance execution, improvement of financial position through cost reduction and cost recovery and execution of the build programme. When Cabinet approved support to Eskom in 2014, it made it very clear that the company would have to show improvement in all these areas to ensure turnaround and to enable the entity to fulfil its mandate.

Over the past year we have made progress in executing each one of these pillars particularly with:

  • Great improvement in leadership. The board and management have been able to demonstrate sound performance and governance with most if not all the executive roles filled;
  • Significant improvement in the execution of maintenance while not load shedding, with over 6 months of constant supply of power. The Chief Executive Officer has assured me that there is no prognosis for load shedding over the winter months;
  • Improvement in financial position despite the unfavorable decisions from NERSA. The company has worked diligently with my department to ensure compliance with equity conditions set by the Minister of Finance to ensure fiscal discipline; and
  • Great progress with the executing the build programme including the delivery of Medupi, Kusile and Ingula.

I thought it is opportune to provide you with an update on Eskom's build programme. Today's emphasis is on the Ingula Storage Pump Scheme in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme is under construction on the escarpment of the Little Drakensberg. The Scheme consists of an upper dam (Bedford Dam) and a lower dam (Bramhoek Dam), 4.6km apart and connected by waterway tunnels. The underground powerhouse houses 4 x 333 MW reversible pump-turbines/units.

The construction of the lower waterways was completed in December 2015 and filled with water from the lower dam.

Today I would like to announce that unit 3 of Ingula was successfully synchronized to the grid on 6 March. This means an additional 333MW capacity will be available to the grid as commissioning progresses towards the unit's full commercial operation in January 2017.

This significant milestone allows Eskom to continue its maintenance programme and reduce the pressure on the grid. The testing before synchronisation of unit 4 has already started, while the major construction work on both unit 1 and unit 2 has also been completed.

The delivery of the subsequent units and the rest of the build programme are important in enabling the country's economy to grow and attract further investments.

I commend the team at Eskom for progress made in the execution of the build programme and overall improvement in the performance of the business. This company has shown great resilience through difficult times and remains a critical enabler in supporting the South African economy.

Energy has been cited as a constraint to economic growth over the last year, but it is clear that South Africa has been able to deal decisively with this challenge to ensure that we support the economic recovery.

We will keep you updated with developments in the build programme as we celebrate further milestones.

I thank you.

For enquiries contact Colin Cruywagen on 082 3779916

Issued by Ministry of Public Enterprises

10 March 2016

Page last modified:15/03/2016 15:06