The current electricity crisis engulfing South Africa’s economy shows no immediate sign of abating.
This is after Eskom said on Sunday that it will likely have to continue cutting power at stage 6 – with a small possibility of reducing that by one stage at 5pm on Sunday.
The utility’s chief operating officer, Jan Oberholzer, said in a press briefing on Sunday that emergency pump-storage and diesel levels were “critically low” on Sunday and “must be replenished as a matter of urgency”.
“Stage 6 will remain implemented until sufficient generating units return to service. We are not yet able to make a firm commitment when we can ease the current stage of load shedding,” Oberholzer said.
By early on Monday morning, Eskom expects dams used in the pump-storage schemes will be full or close to full. However, replenishing diesel stocks is more challenging, Oberholzer said. “We have have a high stage of load shedding for this week, going forward.”
The utility expects to return 18 coal-fired generation units to be returned to service during the course of the coming week. “All hands are on deck at the power stations to ensure the successful return of these units,” he said.
Eskom has burned almost R8-billion worth of diesel so far in 2022 to prevent load shedding, or to reduce the stage of cuts. The company is facing cash flow problems, Oberholzer said, but has allocated an additional R500-million beyond budget for diesel purchases in the short term.
Oberholzer warned that Eskom’s spending on diesel for the full year could double current spending, taking the figure to more than R15-billion – twice what was budgeted for, for this year.
“It’s not only diesel, but also fuel oil,” he said. “Whenever you have a trip of a unit, you need fuel oil to restart a unit. Even on that side, we have a significant challenge, having invested a lot of money year-to-date. That budget will have to increase as well.” — © 2022 NewsCentral Media