Thursday, 18 November 2021
Johannesburg: Eskom says it expects to lift load shedding from 9pm this evening with the utility moving to implement Stage 1 on Friday morning.
This was announced by Eskom Chief Executive Andre de Ruyter.
He said several generating units at the power utility’s power stations have returned to service over night with more expected to return at a later stage.
Dam and diesel levels have also been recovered.
However, de Ruyter warned that the lifting of load shedding will depend on the utility’s ability to prevent any unplanned breakdowns.
“Peak demand for evening peak is anticipated to come in at 27 908MW…with load shedding Stage Two [currently implemented], that will give us adequate supply. We will lift load shedding…[but] this is subject to the units returning that we have indicated [including] Matimba 2, Matla 6 and Tutuka 4,” he said.
Addressing the loss of at least three generating units at Matimba power station yesterday, de Ruyter explained that the trip was caused by workers at the plant.
“A team had been working on the ACC fans – the cooling fans that provide cooling to the station – [and] this team managed to drop an extensive cord onto the unit two transformer, a flash resulted which tripped the station board and shutdown all cooling…and that led to those units shutting down,” he said.
The Chief Executive said the utility will be investigating the incident.
“We have difficulty believing that this is entirely coincidental so we have despatched a forensic team on site; they will be investigating. We will also be deploying additional security on site in order to ensure that we can protect our asset
“My fundamental point of departure has always been not to attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence. But when you have three simultaneous unit trips like this, it certainly does arouse suspicion. We have no hard evidence at this point in time but it certainly is coincidental that this incident has taken place right now,” he said.
De Ruyter revealed that yesterday evening, Eskom’s “most reliable power station”, Lethabo, suffered damage to one of its two coal conveyor lines which feeds the power station.
“At around 6pm, so immediately before evening peak, one of the towers collapsed in such a way that it fell onto the…line and thereby rendering both those lines inoperable. Again, we are investigating.
“The consequences of this disruption would have been that after about six hours, Lethabo would have run out of coal and therefore, have had to shut down,” he said.
De Ruyter said Eskom’s distribution management, a third coal supply line was devised to feed the power station.
He added that the utility is now investigating the transportation of coal to power stations.