Thursday, 02 April 2020

Johanhesburg: As South Africa enters day 7 of a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, Eskom has announced that it will double maintenance work at its plants.

“With the COVID-19 national lockdown in full effect, Eskom has experienced a significant reduction in demand for electricity. Electricity usage has dropped by between 7 500MW and 9 000MW since the lockdown came into effect last week. This has allowed Eskom to operate without the need to implement load shedding,” said the power utility.

The utility is making use of the low demand to carry out important short-term maintenance of generation infrastructure.

In order to protect the integrity of the system, Eskom has taken some generation units offline.

From midnight on Friday, 3 April 2020, Eskom will add Koeberg Unit 2 to units taken off the grid.

However, these will be able to return to service at short notice, should the need arise.

Koeberg Unit 2 is scheduled to return to service by 30 April 2020, if not called before then.

“As part of protecting the integrity of the power system, Eskom has also issued force majeure notices to the wind independent power producers. These notices serve to alert the wind Independent Power Producers (IPPs) of the possibility that Eskom may, from time to time, curtail their supply to the grid during the national lockdown,” the power utility said.

Should this remote possibility happen, the IPPs will be afforded one day of relief for every day, or part thereof, of lost production. This will ensure that none of the wind IPPs are worse off than before the force majeure.

Last month, Eskom handed over its Academy of Learning (EAL) centre in Midrand, Johannesburg, to government to be used as a quarantine site. This was done as part of efforts to assist in the fight to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

The facility, which has 416 beds and other facilities, will be used to accommodate people who have to undergo a period of quarantine and observation for signs of COVID-19.