Eskom implements Stage 3 load-shedding

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Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said the electricity grid is severely constrained and that Stage 3 load-shedding will be implemented on Monday and Tuesday from 5pm until 10pm.

The parastatal was briefing the media on the country’s rolling blackouts that come as a result of a constrained power system

According to The Citizen, De Ruyter said there is a loss of 16,307MW due to unplanned breakdowns.

“This is a very high number indeed when we do have demand expected for evening peak of just under 31,000MW. So, we do have a significant shortfall for evening peak and as a consequence the outlook is for load-shedding Stage 3 to be implemented from 17:00 tonight to 22:00 and the same applies for tomorrow.”

De Ruyter said the demand has moved to a typical winter pattern.

“The system is capable of handling demand as well as during the morning. So, its only really a constraint that we have during the peak and what that means is that we can cope with the demand during the day.”

“Fortunately, this also then puts us in a position where we have less of an impact on business life in particular. We do understand that after 5pm the impact on the domestic consumer is particularly pronounced and that is highly regrettable and we’ve got a challenge with resolving that,” De Ruyter said.

De Ruyter also explained that a number of units are offline.

“Two units are out at Arnot. Unit 2 is out at Duvha for more than six months now. We have Koeberg unit 2 out on a refuelling outage, and the hydrogen explosion at Medupi unit 4. Tutuka has three units online, doing better than is historically the case.”

“Two units out at Matla. At Matimba we continue to have challenges with cooling fans since the 70s. Majuba is performing poorly. Two units out – 511MW partial load losses, in addition Letabo is having a difficult time, two units out unplanned. One unit out planned, 1,500MW out of usually reliable energy. Kusile only has 540MW coming out, three units in commercial operation, one not in commercial use, but unit 1 and 3 are out on unplanned [maintenance].”

De Ruyter mentioned the amaBhungane story on fuel theft at Kriel power station.

“A significant diesel theft syndicate has been disruptive there… That plant currently has two units completely out and partial load losses of 300MW. So that’s another 900MW of capacity we do not have available.”

De Ruyter said Eskom’s reserves are looking in “reasonable shape”.

“But we have to bear in mind that we have to top up our peak demand with burning diesel at our open-cycle gas turbines. We have another vessel that will dock at Saldanha on 24 May. So we have to manage our diesel inventories very carefully to ensure we do not lose our emergency reserves.”

De Ruyter said the full load losses is hampering Eskom, making it very difficult for the power utility to meet demands during peak hours.

Faizel Patel