South Africa

POWER CRISIS

Suck it up: Load shedding to continue all week, and may worsen, as grid remains ‘volatile and unpredictable’ 

(Photo: Dean Hutton / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

There appears to be no let up, as load shedding will continue throughout the coming week, after Eskom announced on Sunday that Stage 2 load shedding will resume from 5am on Monday. 

After a weekend of rolling  scheduled blackouts, stage 2 load shedding will continue from 5am on Monday, 8 November until 5am on Saturday, 13 November, Eskom announced on Sunday. 

The power utility warned that higher stages of load shedding could not be ruled out, as the power system remains “volatile and unpredictable”. 

 

On Friday, Eskom announced that  stage 4 load shedding would be implemented from 2pm on Friday until 5am on Saturday. after three generating units at the Kendal power station had shut down, units at both Tutuka and Matimba power stations tripped, and the delayed return to service of a unit at both Majuba and Lethabo power stations. Thereafter, Stage 2 load shedding would be implemented from 5am on Saturday until 5am on Monday, said the utility. 

A week before elections,  load shedding resumed, with the power utility warning  on 25 October that load shedding would be a regular occurrence until at least the end of August next year. On 27 October, the day that matrics started their final examinations, load shedding intensified from Stage 2 to Stage 4. 

Now, on Sunday afternoon, November 7, Eskom announced that Stage 2 load shedding would “regretfully” continue throughout the week, “due to the ongoing insufficient generation capacity and the inability to replenish emergency reserves over this weekend”. 

“Despite the implementation of Stage 2 load shedding, the events over the past two days have required extensive use of emergency generating reserves, hampering the recovery of the dam levels at the pumped storage power stations and depleting already low diesel levels,” said Eskom spokesperson, Sikonathi Mantshantsha. 

Mantshantsha said that a “major incident” in Zambia on Saturday had affected the entire southern African power pool. During the incident, imported power from Cahora Bassa reduced by 1,000 MW, while a Tutuka generator also tripped, he said. 

“Furthermore, a unit at Tutuka power station was forced to shut down while there were further delays in returning a unit each at Lethabo and Majuba power stations,” he said. 

Additionally, a unit at both Medupi and Matla power stations tripped on Sunday. The high usage of Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGTs) over the past two weeks has resulted in limited diesel stock being available, with bulk diesel supply for the OCGT power stations only expected in mid-November, said Mantshantsha. 

Total breakdowns currently amount to 16,693 MW, while planned maintenance is 5,769 MW of capacity, said Mantshantsha. 

“Eskom teams successfully returned two of the three generators at Kendal Power Station following the shut down on Friday due to coal constraints. A unit each at Lethabo and Majuba power station was returned to service from boiler tube leak repairs,” he said.

Mantshantsha added that a total of 12 generating units with a combined capacity of 5,271 MW are expected to return to service during the week. DM

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  • This would be easier if Eskom just shed different areas an entire day of the week.

    Try and run a factory with random two hour stoppages. It’s be simpler to deal with if owners knew that say every Wednesday is dead

  • @johan, while I agree in principle that planned is better, the success of the prolonged outage strategy you propose surely very much depends on the product. Tech businesses and internet connectivity providers for example would be shattered if the backup power couldn’t sustain the down period. I assume cold chain businesses would also struggle.