Eskom has asked all its senior managers to cancel their festive leave as the utility works around the clock to keep the lights on this Christmas.

According to the utility it needs all hands on deck to try and reduce the current load shedding to a minimum of stage one as opposed to the stage two currently underway.

Speaking at a media briefing on Thursday, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan assured the public that his department and Eskom are hard at work to put a plan in place that will ensure stability.

Poor management and maintenance

The minister identified poor management and poor maintenance of old power stations was as some of the reasons for the load shedding, which Gordhan termed a “crisis.”

“Today we feel the effect of State capture and the reality that we have very old power stations that we are operating,” the minister said.

Agreeing with Gordhan, Eskom Chairman Jabu Mabuza noted that the utility had pinned its hopes on new power stations that did not live up to expectations.

We have not maintained when we should have maintained and now the stuff is tearing, and when we got the money, we decided to put it into building a new plant with the hopes that it will help but that was not so,” he said

A week-by-week plan

In an effort to combat load shedding the minister suggested a week-by-week plan be implemented in the coming days to assign responsibility and determine weak points.

The utility will also be deploying expert staff from its head office at power stations to assess the challenges on the ground.

Turning to the utility’s dire debt situation Gordhan noted: “Our immediate concern now is to get the operations going because once we deal with that, we will start to address the debt issue.”