In the first quarter of 2016, Eskom recorded a massive excess capacity of up to 14 000 MW during peak hours due its maintenance plan, the Economic Sectors, Employment and Infrastructure Development Cluster says.

Briefing reporters on the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) first quarter progress report in Pretoria on Tuesday, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said South Africa has not needed to apply load shedding since August 2015.

The power utility has been able to accelerate the delivery of its build programme, with Medupi power station's unit 6 and Ingula pumped storage scheme's units 2 and 4 reaching commercial operation.

The units have added 1 386 MW to the country's electricity grid.

"Medupi unit five and the remaining two Ingula units were successfully synchronised to the grid. All the units have been consistently providing electricity to the grid and are on track for commercial operation in the next year," said Pandor.

The cluster said this has provided Eskom with the necessary space to carry out its maintenance programme while meeting the country's electricity demands.

"In the first quarter, Eskom recorded excess capacity of up to a massive 14 000 MW during peak hours. These improvements confirm that the revised maintenance strategy is yielding positive results.

"We have restored South Africa's contribution as a primary electricity provider for the SADC region," said the cluster.

The rollout of the renewable energy projects through the Independent Power Producer Programme, run by the Department of Energy, has assisted to diversify the country's energy mix.

Meanwhile, Integrated Energy Centres (IeC) are being built to provide products like paraffin, diesel, petrol, gas and gas burner stoves that serve the energy needs of communities.

In the first quarter, 49 314 additional households have had access to electricity after being connected to the grid, while 600 households in the rural areas were connected to off-grid technology.

An IeC is a one-stop centre offering energy services to rural communities. It aims to provide access to affordable and quality energy services to impoverished rural communities.

Source: Nam News Network