Eskom has warned that the power grid is heavily constrained, and any further deterioration could result in load-shedding being implemented at short notice.
It explained in a tweet that this is because four power generation units broke down at the Medupi, Duvha, Majuba, and Lethabo power stations.
This has been compounded by a delay to the expected return to service of a unit at Medupi.
It noted that the country’s power system is expected to remain constrained for the rest of the week, and the situation has been exacerbated by the cold front that the country is currently experiencing.
“Unplanned breakdowns stand at more than 11,900MW of capacity, adding to the 4,350MW currently out on planned maintenance,” said Eskom.
Eskom reminded citizens that the aged generation infrastructure is “unreliable” and “volatile”.
“We urge the people of South Africa to help reduce electricity usage in order to assist Eskom to keep the lights on.”
Power system still severely constrained as generation units break down and cold front hits pic.twitter.com/hQhyGcxHaJ
— Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA) August 18, 2020
Load-shedding set to triple by 2022
Research conducted by Dr Jarrad Wright and Joanne Calitz of the CSIR shows that load-shedding will continue to get worse over the next few years.
This comprises year-on-year increases to the amount of load-shedding implemented by Eskom until 2022, at which point load-shedding is expected to have tripled in magnitude compared to 2019.
According to the updated Energy Availability Factor (EAF) and demand forecast at which Wright and Calitz arrived, South Africa should expect over 4,500GWh of load-shedding in 2022, compared to the 1,352GWh the country suffered in 2019.
2019 saw the worst power cuts the country had ever experienced, with the country at one point reaching stage 6 load-shedding.
Eskom predicted in its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2019 that last year would be the peak of load-shedding in South Africa – a prediction that the CSIR’s data contests.