After a respite of no power cuts for the past few days until Friday afternoon, Eskom has now escalated load shedding to Stage 3 for this weekend.
The power utility was forced to implement Stage 2 rotational load shedding on Friday evening, following unplanned outages or breakdowns hitting 11 427 MW at 8pm and planned maintenance being above 7 000MW.
It had originally said at around 9pm last night that due to the loss of capacity at an additional 4 of its units Stage 2 rotational load shedding would be implemented until 6am on Sunday. However, on Saturday morning Eskom said Stage 3 load shedding would now be implemented.
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“Despite some units having returned to service last night, Stage 3 load shedding will be implemented from 09:00 today to accommodate the shortage of capacity and to replenish emergency reserves, until 05:00 on Monday,” it explained in a statement.
“Diesel reserves for open cycle gas turbines and water reserves for the hydro-pumped storage schemes were utilised extensively yesterday and overnight to supplement the shortage of capacity and are not at adequate levels to sustain the capacity shortage for today,” Eskom added.
“Unplanned outages or breakdowns were at 10 612 MW as at 06:00 this morning while planned maintenance is at 6 574MW. As the system is vulnerable, any additional changes on the system performance may require a shift in stage at short notice,” it noted.
Eskom said that while it regrets the short notice, it “communicated earlier that any shift on the system will require the implementation of load shedding” at short notice.
“We remind customers that load shedding is a highly controlled process implemented by the System Operator to ensure the security of the power system and to prevent a national blackout. Eskom reminds South Africans that there is a possibility of increased load shedding over the next 18 months as we are conducting critical maintenance to restore the ageing plant to good health,” it added.
* Load shedding schedules can be viewed on the Eskom website at https://loadshedding.eskom.co.za or on local municipal websites, depending on a customer’s electricity supplier.