Hello darkness, my old friend

Eskom has announced that it is implementing stage 2 load-shedding on Sunday evening because of unit breakdowns at a number of power stations.

“Eskom regrets to inform the public that due to a loss of ten generating units at seven power stations during the past 24 hours, load-shedding will be implemented starting at 17:00 this evening until 22:00 on Tuesday night,” the utility stated.

Eskom provided the following details of breakdowns of the particular units:

  • Failure of three generation units at Tutuka was due to a loss of air compressors.
  • A unit at Majuba was forced to shut down while another unit tripped.
  • A generation unit at Kriel was taken down for a boiler tube leak.
  • A unit was forced down due to a steam leak at a unit at Matla power station.
  • Trips at a unit each at Medupi, Kusile, and the Duvha power stations are being investigated.

Eskom said this represented a total generation loss of 6,044MW over the last 24 hours, bringing the unplanned capacity loss to 16,118MW.

Planned maintenance stood at 4,171MW.

“We urge the public to help us by reducing consumption while Eskom teams are working around thee clock to restore as many of these units to service as soon as possible,” Eskom stated.

Struggling with demand

The latest bout of load-shedding should not come as a surprise. Eskom has been struggling to cope with demand for a few weeks.

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha previously warned that the rise in demand has increased the risk of load-shedding.

He said the grid has been under severe pressure for the past two weeks. On some days Eskom has not been able to meet peak evening demand.

On Monday 3 May, for example, demand exceeded supply by 254MW. On Tuesday Eskom was 158MW short and on Wednesday there was a deficit of 711MW.

On Thursday, Eskom said its power system was under severe pressure and asked consumers to switch off all unnecessary lights, your geyser, pool pump, and non-essential appliances.

The only reason load-shedding was not implemented is because of load curtailment where large companies are forced to reduce their power consumption.

Eskom has also implemented load reduction, where it cut power to selected areas to safeguard its infrastructure.

The latest power deficit could, however, not be managed through load curtailment and load reduction. This is why load-shedding is back.

Today’s load-shedding comes after stage 2 load-shedding was previously implemented in April after generation units at the Kriel, Medupi, and the Duvha power stations experienced delays in return to service.

This load-shedding last month was also required to manage and preserve the emergency generation reserves, Eskom said.

It asked South Africans to use electricity sparingly to help it to limit the need for load-shedding.

Now read: The average salary at Eskom is R737,000 – but workers want 15% more

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Hello darkness, my old friend