A total of 15,467MW of Eskom’s generation capacity was off-line on Wednesday, constituting an unprecedented almost 36% of Eskom’s 43,000MW installed capacity.
This is a further indication of the rapid deterioration of Eskom’s generation fleet performance.
The utility started the day with stage two load shedding, reducing demand by 2,000MW, but had to resort to stage 3 load shedding from mid-afternoon. This saw South Africans countrywide being subjected to two time slots without electricity as Eskom aimed to reduce electricity demand by 4,000MW to prevent a total system collapse.
Load shedding is a measure of controlled load reduction to protect the system from overloading and collapse.
10,424MW was off-line due to unplanned outages and 5,043MW as a result of planned maintenance..
Eskom said in its System Status Bulletin issued on Thursday night the system was “severely volatile today”.
Unit 1 of Koeberg was still “undergoing start-up tests required for synchronisation after the (earlier) fault on the generator was resolved and is expected to return to service this evening.”
It will however only be back for a few days, as Eskom earlier said the unit will be taken out of service again for planned maintenance on Monday. depriving the system of almost 1000MW.
“Forecast for this week indicates that the system will remain extremely constrained and any extra load or faults in the system may necessitate the need to go into load shedding,” Eskom said.
It does not expect load shedding from Friday and over the weekend when demand is usually lower.
A supply shortage is forecast daily from Monday until Wednesday, which is as far as the forecast stretches, indicating a high probability of load shedding.
Eskom earlier indicated that it will be stepping up planned maintenance from Monday in an effort to reduce the maintenance backlog that has led to the drastic deterioration of the performance of its cole-fired generation fleet.
It is expected to take more than 5,000MW out of service on planned maintenance, which means the pressure on the national grid will remain huge until winter, when planned maintenance will be reduced again to accommodate greater demand.