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 expecting to load shed during the early January once again, it appears that the energy that is embattled dark times are far from over. The organization is saddled with huge financial obligation and incredibly dirty, outdated coal plant technology. It’s a financial tragedy waiting to take place. But because SA is plagued by monopolies (together with ANC federal government is intent on perpetuating them) South Africans sit having a problem that is massive their arms that is needlessly self-created. Nevertheless, there are several a lot more than capable individuals inside Eskom together with COO Jan Oberholzer seemingly have a feeling of rationality pertaining to the future of the state-owned utility 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 into the operations of Eskom this present year, such as the decrease within the utility’s generation plant performance, shortages of coal at power channels in Mpumalanga, the return of phase 2 (2,000 MW) load shedding – with rolling blackouts around the world for per week ahead of the xmas holidays, therefore the statement by the COO of the nine-point want to deal with the functional dilemmas.

Mr Oberholzer, please could you make clear the functions and lines of authority between your Eskom CEO, COO, CFO as well as other Eskom Exco users? Who states to who?

Eskom’s new structure is constructed on three pillars: strategy, finance and operations. Generally speaking, CEO Phakamani Hadebe could be the face of Eskom, accountable for strategy, appropriate and business affairs, hr and reputation administration. CFO Calib Cassim is in charge of the amount of money, liquidity, finance, loans, treasury, assets, property, different help solutions and general economic control. As COO, i will be in charge of all Eskom’s operations: generation, transmission and circulation of electricity, main power, coal and water, team money (including new-build tasks), Rotek Industries, Eskom Enterprises, Eskom Research, Testing & Development (RT&D), danger and sustainability, and others. Eskom has ready a brand new exco organogram, and I also will share this to you whenever escort in Pembroke Pines finalised.

Which are the biggest problems Eskom that is currently facing problems have you been in charge of, and exactly exactly just exactly what keeps you awake during the night?

The greatest problems dealing with Eskom are: financial obligation, liquidity and monetary sustainability, individuals problems – with individuals being our most critical 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 concerns would be the generation that is poor performance, ensuring sufficient coal materials when confronted with high export rates, additionally the threat of rainfall at the moment. Although we involve some 45GW of installed generation ability at our disposal, we actually have actually lower than 30GW of available capacity – and the country’s load is much more than 30GW. Therefore, for the present time, our company is grateful when it comes to season that is festive need is paid down. Concerning the individuals dilemmas, my issues are to make sure accountability by line supervisors, and having the best people who have the best mixture of abilities within the place that is right specially within generation.

Some would state the functional problems at Eskom could be addressed offered effort that is sufficient money and time, but that the economic and ecological dilemmas presently dealing with Eskom are intractable. Can you concur?

Yes, i actually do agree totally that we have the money and the right people, we can resolve the operational issues – no doubt about that if we are diligent, and. But running in a world of serious monetary constraints, massive financial obligation and quickly increasing municipal as well as worldwide arear debt is a large challenge, additionally the CFO could be better positioned to comment further with this. On environmental sustainability, you can find huge problems associated with the burning of coal. Can we simply trade our way to avoid it of this present situation? No, we believe we are going to need to do some plain things extremely differently towards the method they are done before – structurally, economically and environmentally.

Would you think Eskom is gone back to its previous glory, or perhaps is this a backward looking pipe-dream in the basically changed and changing realm of power?

No, we usually do not 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 think we could, but we now have lots of work to do to accomplish that, including training and abilities development. The entire world changed notably since those previous times, and you can find pressures for improvement in the vitality sector. The existing framework as a vertically incorporated company and solitary electricity customer may possibly not be the most readily useful framework and business structure money for hard times, and force from industry w209
ill force Eskom to improve to match the brand new realities. Our president, Mr Jabu Mabuza, has recently stated that the Eskom operations of generation, transmission and circulation might in the future be ring-fenced and addressed as independent devices with a small business focus, with line managers empowered to really make the necessary choices for success, and held responsible for the outcome.

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