Eskom’s interim group CEO Matshela Koko is inviting business to invest in the South African economy.
This is because the availability of electricity is no longer a constraint to the growth of the economy, he emphasised in a statement issued on Tuesday.
His encouragement comes after the first unit of the Kusile power station was connected to the national grid for the first time on Monday evening.
This will add an extra 800MW to further stabilise the power system to support South Africa’s economic growth and the rollout of the electrification programme, according to Eskom.
“Eskom has focussed on lessons learnt from its past history of new build projects and this has led to this early synchronisation. Our build programme is now delivering ahead of our re-baseline schedule, our operations have stabilised and as a result, we are in a position of surplus capacity,” said Koko.
“I, therefore, invite business to invest in the economy because the availability of electricity is no longer a constraint to the growth of the economy.”
According to Eskom, the connection of Unit 1 of Kusile comes at a time when Eskom has incrementally been building excess capacity to ensure security of power supply. In addition to Unit 6 of the Medupi power station which been operating for over a year now, Eskom’s new build programme has also added 1 332 MW from all four units of the Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme, as well as the synchronisation of Medupi Unit 5.
Excess capacity has enabled Eskom to increase its electrification target to over 200 000 households by the end of March 2017, against the target of 169 722 that has been set for it by the Department of Energy.
At the same time, Eskom has also increased its electricity exports to neighbouring states, many of whom have had their hydro scheme adversely affected by the drought. Eskom’s electricity sales to Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe rose 31.6% in the six months to 30 September 2016.