Meet Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer: A man in SA’s power seat that is hot

Meet Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer: A man in SA’s power seat that is hot

JOHANNESBURG — With news that Eskom is anticipating to load shed in very early January once again, it would appear that the energy that is embattled dark days are far from over. The organization is saddled with huge financial obligation and extremely dirty, outdated coal plant technology. It’s a financial tragedy waiting to take place. But because SA is plagued by monopolies (and the ANC federal federal federal government is intent on perpetuating them) South Africans sit with a problem that is massive their fingers that is needlessly self-created. Nevertheless, there are several a lot more than capable individuals inside Eskom additionally the COO Jan Oberholzer seems to have a feeling of rationality pertaining to the future of the state-owned electric company. In this meeting, EE writers’ Chris Yelland and Roger Lilly swept up with him. – Gareth van Zyl

By Chris Yelland and Roger Lilley*

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A energizing openness by Eskom’s management that is new been demonstrated in a unique meeting with Eskom COO Mr Jan Oberholzer by EE writers. The meeting used dramatic developments when you look at the operations of Eskom in 2010, such as the decrease when you look at the utility’s generation plant performance, shortages of coal at energy channels in Mpumalanga, the return of phase 2 (2,000 MW) load losing – with rolling blackouts around the world for per week ahead of the Christmas time yuletide season, therefore the statement because of the COO of the nine-point intend to deal with the functional dilemmas.

Mr Oberholzer, please could you explain the functions and lines of authority between your Eskom CEO, COO, CFO along with other Eskom Exco people? whom states to who?

Eskom’s structure that is new constructed on three pillars: strategy, finance and operations. Generally speaking, CEO Phakamani Hadebe could be the face of Eskom, in charge of strategy, appropriate and affairs that are corporate recruiting and reputation administration. CFO Calib Cassim accounts for the cash, liquidity, finance, loans, treasury, opportunities, real-estate, different help solutions and general control that is financial. As COO, i will be in charge of all Eskom’s operations: generation, transmission and circulation of electricity, main energy, coal and water, team money (including new-build jobs), Rotek Industries, Eskom Enterprises, Eskom Research, Testing & Development (RT&D), danger and sustainability, amongst others. Eskom has ready a brand new exco organogram, and I also will share this to you whenever finalised.

Do you know the biggest dilemmas currently facing Eskom, which dilemmas have you been accountable for, and just exactly just what keeps you awake during the night?

The largest problems dealing with Eskom are: financial obligation, liquidity and sustainability that is financial individuals problems – with individuals being our most crucial asset, ensuring sufficient coal materials, decreasing generation plant performance and accessibility – triggered by planned upkeep outages, unplanned breakdowns and plant operating with reduced production than ranked, and fast-rising municipal and Soweto arrear debt. From my place, my best issues will be the bad generation plant performance, ensuring sufficient coal materials when confronted with high export costs, plus the danger of rainfall at the moment. Although we involve some 45GW of installed generation ability at our disposal, we actually have actually not as much as 30GW of available capacity – plus the country’s load is more than 30GW. Therefore, for the present time, we have been grateful when it comes to yuletide season where need is reduced. Concerning the individuals problems, my issues are to make sure accountability by line supervisors, and having the best individuals with the best mixture of abilities within the place that is right especially within generation.

Some will say Website the functional problems at Eskom could be addressed provided effort that is sufficient money and time, but that the monetary and ecological problems presently dealing with Eskom are intractable. Can you agree?

Yes, i really do agree totally that when we are diligent, and then we have the funds and also the right individuals, we could resolve the functional issues – no doubt about this. But running in a world of severe economic constraints, massive financial obligation and quickly increasing municipal and also worldwide arear financial obligation is a huge challenge, while the CFO will be better positioned to comment further with this. On ecological sustainability, you can find huge dilemmas regarding the burning of coal. Can we simply trade our solution for the situation that is current? No, we believe we’re going to want to do some things really differently towards the method they are done before – structurally, economically and environmentally.

Can you believe Eskom could be gone back to its previous glory, or perhaps is this a backward looking pipe-dream in the fundamentally changed and changing realm of power?

No, we don’t think days gone by could be recaptured with Eskom keeping its present kind being a vertically incorporated monopoly. Can Eskom enhance its reputation, performance and self-confidence? Yes, i really believe we are able to, but we now have plenty of strive to do in order to accomplish that, including training and abilities development. The planet changed somewhat since those previous times, and you will find pressures for improvement in the vitality sector. The present framework being a vertically incorporated company and solitary electricity customer might not be the structure that is best and business design money for hard times, and force from industry w209
ill force Eskom to alter to accommodate the realities that are new. Our president, Mr Jabu Mabuza, has recently stated that the Eskom operations of generation, transmission and circulation might in future be ring-fenced and addressed as independent devices with a small business focus, with line supervisors empowered to really make the decisions that are necessary success, and held in charge of the outcomes.

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