Eskom transmission unbundling debate rages

[] — A serious debate is raging about the future of Eskom’s transmission network.

Serious consideration is being given to the possibility of unbundling Eskom’s transmission network and making it part of the future independent systems operator, especially to make the new era in the electricity industry attractive to private power producers.

Prospective independent power producers are concerned that the playing field should be level when they compete with Eskom in the electricity market.

That would need Eskom’s transmission network to be in the hands of independent operators. But warnings are coming from Eskom that the network’s stability will be under threat if it is separated from the utility.

From a technical viewpoint serious reflection is required, says Erica Johnson, Eskom’s chief officer of customer network business.

Systems operation is ultimately the heartbeat of the organisation.

As far as Eskom is concerned, important consideration will be necessary before the system’s security can be detached from the utility.

Eskom requires independent power producers to meet the future demand for an additional 50 gigawatts.

It therefore requires a market maker. But the utility’s systems security is something that it cherishes and it needs carefully to consider which key factors provide the system security, says Johnson.

The transmission of electricity from where it is generated by a future private power producer to where it is delivered to bulk clients such as a mine or smelter is nevertheless a great source of concern to private players.


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