Higher stages of load shedding implemented due to generation shortfall

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Power utility Eskom is facing a generation shortfall caused by delays in returning units to operation, resulting in an escalation of load shedding on Wednesday, 28 June 2023.

To address the shortage, Eskom announced that it has increased load shedding to stage 2, which will be in effect from 7am until 4pm. Following that, stage 3 load shedding will be implemented from 4pm until midnight. The utility has indicated that updates regarding the situation will be provided throughout the day.

This sudden change marks a departure from the previous three-week trend of suspending load shedding during the day and limiting blackouts to the evening hours. Although Eskom reports that it has been able to maintain stage 1 load shedding during weekends, experts in the energy sector continue to emphasise that the grid remains volatile, and conditions can shift abruptly.

Lower stages
Eskom says that it has been able to keep load shedding at lower stages due to improved generation performance, with its energy availability factor (EAF) reaching 60%. The power utility also reported that factors such as lower-than-anticipated demand, better plant performance in cooler weather conditions, higher winter tariffs discouraging excessive use among industrial users, and a reduction in planned maintenance during this season have all contributed to Eskom’s ability to manage load shedding at lower levels.

While it says that its position remains uncertain, and load shedding could escalate with even minor changes, Eskom says there is a more optimistic outlook for the future. Additional generating capacity is expected to be brought online later this year and in 2024.

New generating capacity
The utility reported that it has obtained environmental exemptions that will enable the reactivation of several Kusile units. These units will contribute approximately 2100MW to the grid. Furthermore, new generating capacity is anticipated to be connected concurrently as ongoing projects progress.

Load shedding schedules are available on Eskom’s website at loadshedding.eskom.co.za. Smartphone users can download the EskomSePush app, which provides push notifications regarding load shedding implementation and the specific times when their areas will experience power outages.

The Citizen/ Devina Haripersad