Higher load shedding stages loom if diesel not delivered, warns Eskom


Eskom has warned that if it does not receive delivery of diesel, it may have to ramp up load shedding to even higher stages.

The dark lords at Megawatt Park on Sunday said stage 3 load shedding would continue to be implemented at 12am to 4pm daily until Thursday.

Stage 4 load shedding, it said, would then be implemented daily during the evening peaks between 4pm and 12am

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said a further update will be published on Wednesday afternoon, or as soon as there are any significant changes.

Mantshantsha said the uncertainty of diesel supply is affecting generation capacity.

“Eskom is still experiencing constraints from its diesel suppliers that are affecting the availability of bulk diesel to the Ankerlig and Gourikwa Open Cycle Gas Turbines, which have a combined capacity of 2 000MW.”

“While we expect diesel deliveries from Tuesday onwards, should this uncertainty of supply persist, higher stages of load shedding may be required,” Mantshantsha said.

Meanwhile, as part of the embattled parastatal’s updated assumptions for its tariff application next year, Eskom plans to use R16.8 billion of diesel in its next financial year, which starts in April.

This is a substantial increase from the amount of R5 billion as part of its updated request to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) in January. It equates to a 235% increase from the submission earlier this year – more than triple.

This means Eskom will, on average, burn R1.4 billion of diesel per month.

Earlier this month during an update on the current system challenges, chief executive officer André de Ruyter said the utility is struggling to buy more petroleum.

De Ruyter said the buying of diesel to run the OCGTs to keep the lights on has become an issue.

“It is a fact that liquidity to buy further diesel is an issue. Five months of this financial year, we’ve already burnt our way through about R7.7 billion worth of diesel which is just about the budget for the whole year.”

“Our Chief Financial Officer Calib Cassim has made available an additional R500 million to purchase more diesel. Of course, the diesel is made much more expensive due to political events and the higher oil price that currently prevails at the moment,” De Ruyter said.

Basically, Eskom needs to use its OCGTs more extensively to minimise load shedding and keep the lights on.

The Citizen/Faizel Patel