Managers at various Eskom power stations have been given a go-ahead to draw up performance bonuses for their staff after a “load shedding free” festive season.
Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, who promised fat Christmas bonuses to Eskom employees if they could keep the lights on, is pleased with the festive season performance at the coal face.
He told a media briefing on Tuesday that the low levels of load shedding during the festive season were due to planned maintenance and not the failure of Eskom to meet demand.
“During December 2022, we were at Stage 5 and Stage 6 load shedding. But during this period, for a significant amount of days we didn’t have load shedding,” said Ramokgopa.
But the comparison has little to do with the performance of Eskom staff because three units at Kusile Power Station were out of service in December 2022.
Each unit produces 800 MW and together they account for 2.5 stages of load shedding.
These units returned to service during the 2023 festive season.
Despite this, load shedding returned on 2 January 2024 and Stage 2 load shedding was introduced on Tuesday evening.
Eskom CEO Bheki Nxumalo said performance reports were being reconciled and the incentives would be paid from end January.
The windfall comes just months after Eskom staff reached a 7% wage hike agreement with their employer in June 2023.
The salary increase was pushed through even though Eskom had reported its biggest loss at R24 billion.
Ramokgopa made the bonuses promise during a visit to Mpumalanga’s Arnot Power Station, where the company was operating at just 48% of its capacity.
“Continue the good work. The better the performance the better the incentive you will receive in your pockets.
“Once you give us the kind of progress and energy improvement that we want, you will see that your families will be happy and you are going to enjoy a better Christmas,” he said.