Prepare for Stage 5 load-shedding or worse as Eskom workers strike

Eskom’s COO Jan Oberholzer said the power utility could increase the load-shedding stage further as illegal protest action continues at several of its power stations.

He explained that the strike, which began on Thursday, 23 June 2022, resulted in Eskom having to use backup power reserves throughout the day to meet demands, hence the need for the power utility to shed more load.

This is because the lack of operational staff and resources meant that Eskom had to lower the output of its coal-fired units and make up the difference by using backup reserves.

Oberholzer explained that diesel reserves at Ankerlig and Gourikwa had dropped to around 30% and 60%, respectively.

Ankerlig does not have a direct fuel line to the station, creating a logistical challenge when replenishing its reserves as it only receives diesel deliveries by road.

Oberholzer said that while Gourikwa diesel reserves aren’t as low, they would have depleted quickly at the pace at which they were being run.

He added that Eskom had applied for, and was granted, an interdict prohibiting the protest action and that employees involved in the strike would be dealt with decisively.

Eskom acting generation executive Rhulani Mathebula said there had been no reports of sabotage to the utility’s generation fleet.

Mathebula added that around 50 to 100 employees were blocking roads and access to gates at each affected power station, preventing over 200 other employees from attending work.

Staff were intimidated into staying home for their own safety, and protestors threw rocks at cars transporting employees to work.

Eskom has asked its employees to document any intimidating text messages or calls they received.

The power utility declined to give an updated load-shedding outlook but warned that higher stages could be possible if the issues are not resolved.

It currently has around 18,000MW offline due to breakdowns and approximately 2,800MW unavailable because of planned maintenance.

Eskom implemented Stage 4 load-shedding at 11:00 on Friday, 24 June 2022, and it will continue between 05:00 and midnight on Saturday and Sunday.

Now read: Illegal power plant strike in South Africa — Eskom warns power cuts will get worse

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Prepare for Stage 5 load-shedding or worse as Eskom workers strike