Eskom is to implement Stage 2 load shedding, starting at 12.00pm, as breakdowns increase.
“Due to the increase in generation unit breakdowns, Eskom regrets to inform the country that it will implement Stage 2 loadshedding starting at 12:00. This will continue until 22:00. This loadshedding has been caused by an increase in plant breakdowns exceeding 3 000MW of capacity. Eskom is working hard to return as many of these generation units to service,” the power utility said in a statement.
“While five generation units were taken off the grid last night and this morning, a breakdown at the Matimba power station has today resulted in the need for loadshedding. Two units at the Arnot power station, as well as a unit each at Kendal, Tutuka and Majuba were taken off the grid last night and this morning,
“These removed more than 3 000MW of capacity from the system. The delayed return to service of a generation unit at the Duvha power station has also added significant pressure to the generation system.
“We urge the public to continue reducing electricity usage to help us minimise loadshedding.
“This constrained supply situation may persist throughout the weekend.
“Over the past two evenings, the help of the public assisted us in avoiding the need for load shedding. With your help, Eskom can again pull through without load shedding.”
Meanwhile, Eskom chief executive officer (CEO) Andre de Ruyter has said that load shedding would be likely to occur over the next year.
De Ruyter spoke of the challenges Eskom faces in supplying electricity to South Africa on 702’s ‘The Money Show‘.
“There is increased risk of load shedding the next twelve months,” he said.
He said the power utility had to do urgent “reliability maintenance” at its older power stations. Otherwise, the risk of load shedding will only increase in coming years.
“This means that older stations will have to be offline for long periods when it is being maintained. The system is old and it needs to be repaired as it suffers from a lack of predictability,” he said.
It was reported that the average age of Eskom’s coal-fired power stations stands at 38 years, however, this excludes the Medupi and Kusile stations.
De Ruyter further said the maintenance on the plants should be completed by the end of August 2021. The CEO added that it was disappointing that earlier this week, a unit at the brand-new Medupi tripped.
The power utility started to repair design flaws at all twelve units at the Medupi and Kusile stations, which costs R300 million per unit to repair. This means that each unit would not work for more than four months, although, units 3 and 6 at Medupi has had some minor changes.
He said fixing the design flaws involved big changes to each unit, including the removal of 32km of boiler tubing as the existing boilers malfunction due to it burning at a high temperature.
“Boiler problems have caused the power stations to malfunction in the past and it usually takes a long time to fix, because repair work can only start when boilers have cooled down, which can take days,” the CEO said.
De Ruyter continued to say that South Africa was in a rush when the new plants were commissioned: “We took an off-the-shelf design and are now paying the price in terms of a plant not suited to coal that is available for it to burn.”
He said, however, that the power utility was in negotiations with contractors to recover some of the money.
Listen to de Ruyter’s interview below: