Electricity + Control

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Electricity and Control January 2018 OFCFiddling – while Eskom burns

Greetings to everyone from the Electricity+Control team and may it be a wonderful 2018 – all round!

No one wants to start the year on a ‘down’ … but how can the downfall of a once respected entity – Eskom – be ignored?

One of the many farces that exists in the organisation was highlighted on Twitter by civil activist and OUTA chairman, Wayne Duvenage, who points out that Eskom’s legal manager, who exposed alleged executive misconduct and fraud within the organisation, is being intimidated by Eskom; while executives with Big question marks over their heads have resumed their positions, employees having welcomed their return in song and dance.

  • Treasury has admitted that Eskom is the single biggest risk to our economy.
  • Eskom spokesperson, Khulu Phasiwe, himself, recently admitted that Eskom is facing serious liquidity problems and that it would be in ‘trouble’ if the situation got worse.
  • Piet van Staden (senior energy executive at Sasol, and past chairperson of the Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG) of Southern Africa) refers to the situation as the ‘Utility Death Spiral’. He says that: “Eskom is deeply indebted, literally running out of cash, and needs to borrow about R60 bn per year for the next four years to finish the build programme. To add insult to injury, the revelations around governance and issues of state capture have left them with no friends”.
  • UCT Professor Anton Eberhard who, with Catrina Godinho, has published 'The Eskom Inquiry Reference Book’, posted on Twitter: “Minister Lynne Brown and the Board appear paralysed – either they don’t understand the severity of the matter or they don’t care – or both”.

To the President, the Deputy President, the government, the Eskom board, the singing and dancing employees, to ourselves, to me… can we simply stand by and watch?

Why are we Fiddling – while Eskom burns?

Wendy Izgorsek

Editor, Electricity+Control

Tel. +27 (0) 11 622 4770

Email: ec@crown.co.za


Feature articles in the January 2018 issue of Electricity+Control


  • Control systems + automation

Industrie 4.0 Meets Building Automation    Michel Matuschke, Beckhoff

The advanced building automation platform in this company’s new building reflects the principles of Industrie 4.0.

Ageing Systems and Expansion Drive Modernisation   Marc Ramsay, Schneider Electric

Management at Premier FMCG decided that the time was right to replace and modernise its control, automation, and electrical systems.


  • Drives, motors + switchgear

Load Management through the Utilisation of VSDs on Water Transfer Schemes

JP de Wet, W Schoeman, JF van Rensburg

A transfer scheme's pump station that utilises Variable Speed Drive (VSD) technology for pump control is identified for a possible load management intervention.


  • Earthing + lightning protection

Surge-protective devices for low-voltage power systems   Holger Heckler, Phoenix Contact

This article explains the differences between the individual surge-protective components used in modern Surge-Protective Devices (SPDs), for the protection of low-voltage power systems.

Lightning protection and education at SA schools is critical   Hannes Ackermann, DEHN Africa

Some practical dos and don’ts of lightning protection and safety, and emphasis on the importance of understanding the science – not the myths – of lightning protection.


  • Pressure + level measurement + instrumentation

Renewable Electricity from Traffic!   Clement Mokoenene, Epitome Consulting

Pressure, which is the most precious commodity in base-load power generation, can now be harvested in its raw form from the roads and we do not have to mine and burn our mineral resources to create it.

Twice as easy: On the safe side with differential pressure measurement   Florian Burgert. VEGA

Pressure vessels and process tanks have to meet high safety requirements. Continuous monitoring of the differential pressure plays a major role in minimising the risks from hazards such as excess pressure, leaks or dust-explosive substances.



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