Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Johannesburg: Eskom has announced that load shedding will be reduced to stage 1 from stage 2 as of today.

Stage 1 will continue until 5am on Saturday, as the power system remains severely constrained.

“Since Monday, Eskom teams successfully returned four generation units at Kusile, Grootvlei, Kriel and Matla, as well as the Cahora Bassa line from Mozambique. However, this has not been sufficient to suspend load shedding at this point.

“During this period, we have lost generation capacity at Medupi, Arnot and Komati power stations,” said the power utility.

Meanwhile, the delayed return to service of four other units is prolonging the need to continue implementing power cuts, and Eskom said it is working hard to return the units back to service as soon as possible.

The utility said 13 443MW of capacity is unavailable due to breakdowns and delays. “This has led to our inability to supply the full demand.”

Eskom has once again reminded citizens that it will continue to implement reliability maintenance and as such, the system will continue to be constrained.

This means the possibility of load shedding remains elevated.

“Eskom requests the public to continue using electricity sparingly, as the system remains vulnerable and unpredictable, and we will communicate timeously, should there be any significant changes to the power system.” the company said.

Eskom ups maintenance plan

Meanwhile; Public Enterprises Deputy Minister, Phumulo Masualle, says Eskom is working tirelessly to ensure that it addresses power plant defects.

The Deputy Minister said this when the department appeared before the National Council of Provinces to respond to oral questions on Tuesday.

Eskom downgraded the current load shedding from stage 2 to stage 1. The power utility said its teams successfully returned four generation units at Kusile, Grootvlei, Kriel and Matla, as well as the Cahora Bassa line from Mozambique. However, this has not been sufficient to suspend load shedding at this point.

“There are two strategies going forward by Eskom. [The first] is that of heightened maintenance on some of the operating units, which has not been done over a period of time.

“The strategy is [meant]  to regain generating capacity. Some of the plants that are due for maintenance should be taken out. However, we continue to experience other breakdowns in other plants, which tends to create a situation where in a day, we have an excess of 1 1500 MW of power that is missed out of the rest of the generation fleet, which then makes load shedding unavoidable, in a sense,” said Masualle.

The Deputy Minister said going forward, the department is working tirelessly to ensure that improvements and efficiencies are achieved in terms of the operational capacity at Medupi and Kusile.

“Attending to the defects that make us unable to achieve maximum output from there is a matter that is receiving priority.

“We are also working with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to accelerate [the acquisition] of additional capacity from independent power producers in order to close the capacity gap that is there.

“[These are] the measures and support that the department is giving to Eskom to mitigate the current environment.” he said.