Eskom says power supply tight, but hopes to avoid load-shedding

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South African state power utility Eskom said on Monday electricity supply remained tight but it was working to stabilise its generation fleet to meet demand.

Eskom said unplanned outages or breakdowns were at 13,867 MW early on Monday, warning that it would use emergency reserves and may implement rolling blackouts in the evening should it lose some generation units during the day.

“If we experience drastic changes in the system, load-shedding may be implemented earlier in the day,” it added.

Eskom was pushed into implementing load-shedding last year — suppressing electricity demand on a rotational basis to avoid overwhelming the national grid, as its generation units broke down largely due to years of inadequate maintenance.

“It is important to note that the power system is vulnerable and volatile with an ageing fleet that requires higher levels of maintenance,” the state company which supplies about 95 per cent of South Africa’s electricity said on Monday.

“Getting back to stability will take some time and we request our customers to work with us by reducing their demand while we work on improving the effectiveness of our maintenance.”

On Saturday President Cyril Ramaphosa said financially strapped Eskom was too big to fail and that the government was committed to rebuilding it.

Eskom chairman Jabu Mabuza resigned on Friday, apologising for the utility’s inability to meet a commitment to avoid load shedding over the just-ended festive season.

African News Agency (ANA)