At Eskom’s first quarterly State of the Power System address for 2014, chief executive Brian Dames said the first unit of Medupi power plant is on course to come on line in the second half of 2014, promising to lighten the load on an extremely tight system.

Eskom, which declared power emergencies twice last week, is racing to keep the lights on and Medupi’s construction has been plagued by several delays in the past related to design flaws, labour unrest and other problems. Medupi is being built to produce 4 764 MW of power.

Eskom emphasised that it is working hard to ensure security of power supply. The national electricity grid remains constrained and this will continue until new generating capacity comes on line and essential generation maintenance is done.

Eskom adopted a five-year plan aimed at ensuring a sustainable generation fleet, one that will not only generate power more reliably now but will continue to do so over the useful lives of our power stations.

“The plan will see us target 10% of our generation capacity on average through the year to do fixed planned maintenance, to address reliability and environmental issues at our power stations. In the short to medium-term, this will introduce higher risks to balancing supply and demand. In order to manage these risks, the country must continue to focus on additional supply options, energy efficiency and some form of an energy conservation scheme as a safety net,” Dames said.