Eskom changes load-shedding timetable as whole Kusile power station breaks down

Eskom has announced all-day stage 3 power cuts “until further notice”.

Earlier today, it had said the plan was to load-shed until 05:00 on Friday, then suspend rotational power cuts until 16:00 and continue at stage 3 until 05:00 on Saturday.

It then planned to switch to stage 2 load-shedding from 05:00 on Saturday.

The state-owned power utility said there were further breakdowns of one generating unit each at Kusile and Komati power stations.

There were also delays in the return-to-service of a generating unit each at Duvha, Grootvlei, Kendal, and two units at the Tutuka power station.

These have necessitated this escalation of load-shedding, Eskom said.

“Currently, there are no units in service at Kusile Power Station due to breakdowns on three units while one unit is out of service on planned maintenance,” it said.

Eskom said it would publish further updates as soon as any significant changes occur.

“We currently have 5,146MW on planned maintenance, while another 17,408MW of capacity is unavailable due to breakdowns,” it said.

Kusile will be 12 years late and R81.4 billion over budget

In a recent presentation to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), Eskom reaffirmed that the Kusile power station is scheduled to reach full commercial operation by May 2024.

Construction on the Medupi and Kusile began in 2007. Both power station projects had a budget of R80 billion and were scheduled to be finished by 2014.

Kusile, near Emalahleni in Mpumalanga, is the most expensive of the two. Eskom estimates it will have cost taxpayers R161.4 billion by the time it is complete — more than double its initial budget.

As of August 2022, Eskom had already spent R147.4 billion on this plant, and it anticipates spending another R14 billion.

However, energy expert Chris Yelland said Eskom’s amounts exclude capitalised interest and the cost of implementing flue gas desulphurisation technology to comply with environmental standards.

Yelland estimated Kusile’s actual cost-to-completion at R226 billion — another R78.6 billion on top of Eskom’s reported amounts.

Only four of Kusile’s six generating units have reached commercial operation, the latest in May 2022. Unit 5 is scheduled for commercial operation by December 2023, and Unit 6 by May 2024.

Eskom’s target for full project completion on Kusile is May 2026 — 12 years late. That is barring any further delays.

Load-shedding timetable for 20–23 October 2022

Load-shedding schedule for 20 — 23 October 2022
Date Day Start time End time Stage
20 October 2022 Thursday 05:00 24:00 3
21 October 2022 Friday 00:00 24:00 3
22 October 2022 Saturday 00:00 24:00 3
23 October 2022 Sunday 00:00 24:00 3

Now read: Eskom gives update on Medupi and Kusile power plants — and it’s not good news

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Eskom changes load-shedding timetable as whole Kusile power station breaks down