Energy experts warn that stage 8 power cuts are on the cards as Eskom struggles to contain generator breakdowns and unplanned outages.
On Saturday, Eskom announced that load-shedding would increase from Stage 2 to Stage 4 and that rotational power cuts would continue this weekend.
The power utility explained that demand is higher than anticipated and that some units have tripped.
The increased load-shedding from Eskom should not come as a surprise. Energy experts have warned that Eskom is not in control of the situation.
Independent energy analyst Mike Rossouw said power station breakdowns occur so frequently that Eskom cannot event predict energy availability for a few hours ahead.
“Eskom is not in control of the situation. They are going from one breakdown to the next and do not have sufficient resources to address the problems,” he said.
He added that the few resources they have are not used properly.
“As long as they are doing that, the situation is going to get worse. To avoid a total blackout, Eskom is simply going to increase load-shedding.”
Rossouw said stage 8 load shedding is very possible this year.
“At this stage, there is an above 50% chance that we will go above level 3 and level 4, because Eskom is not in control of the situation.”
Code red at Eskom
Energy analyst Chris Yelland said the country is in “code red” according to Eskom’s own predictions.
He highlighted that Eskom’s own 52-week outlook, which was published this week, shows that it is likely that there will be load-shedding for most of the next year.
It is significantly worse than the planned risk level, as shown in the table below.
Yelland said Eskom could not solve this problem on its own. It needs additional generation capacity to limit or eradicate load-shedding.
Ramaphosa upbeat that stage 8 power cuts will be avoided
President Cyril Ramaphosa weighed in on the issue, saying it is unlikely that stage 8 power load-shedding would happen.
Speaking at his Presidential Imbizo in Mpumalanga, Ramaphosa said they are hopeful that Eskom’s management has everything under control.
Despite the fact that Eskom has to deal with sabotage, maintenances problems and breakages, he does not believe South Africa will be hit with stage 8 power cuts.
He said Eskom’s management is everything they can to perform maintenance and repair breakdowns quickly when they occur.