Eskom warns Stage 6 power cuts are likely after 10 generators go down

State-owned power utility Eskom has warned that South Africa could see load-shedding escalate to Stage 6 by Tuesday evening unless its situation improves drastically.

This is after ten generating units went offline overnight, representing over 6,000MW of capacity.

Eskom CEO André de Ruyter said that capacity loss due to breakdowns was 14,204MW.

It is also seeing associated load losses of 3,661MW due to the unavailability of coal and labour.

Another 3,218MW of capacity is offline due to scheduled maintenance.

Medupi and Tutuka power stations lost three generating units each, while Kriel, Kusile, Kendal, and Duvha each lost one.

“This situation creates substantial risk,” De Ruyter said.

De Ruyter said Eskom plans to return 3,400MW to service by 17:00 this afternoon.

“If we get all of that back… there is a possibility that we may avert Stage 6,” he said.

However, De Ruyter stated that it is not clear whether Eskom could return the capacity to the grid due to ongoing illegal strikes at its power plants.

Chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer explained that the expected generation deficit for today’s evening peak sits at 1,400MW, even with Stage 4 load-shedding taken into account.

He added that Eskom would therefore need to return the offline units to operation well ahead of the evening peak to prevent increasing power cuts to Stage 6.

“We are communicating proactively with the South African public so they can plan accordingly,” said De Ruyter.

Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer warned last week that the power utility may need to escalate load-shedding due to the illegal protest action.

The protest erupted after Eskom declared deadlock during wage negotiations with labour unions.

Unions have distanced themselves from the protests and disavowed violent acts committed by their members.

Now read: Eskom power cuts delay repairs of overloads and faults caused by load-shedding

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Eskom warns Stage 6 power cuts are likely after 10 generators go down