Eskom increases load-shedding — emergency power station taken offline for upgrades

Eskom plans to increase load-shedding to stage 4 on Thursday night and Friday morning.

Stage 2 load-shedding will continue to be implemented over Wednesday evening and early Thursday morning until 05:00.

After that, Eskom will increase load-shedding to stage 3 until 16:00, before bumping it up again to stage 4.

Stage 4 load-shedding will continue until 05:00 on Friday morning, before the utility will reduce to stage 3 for 24 hours until 05:00 on Saturday.

South Africa’s state-owned power utility will then implement stage 2 load-shedding until 05:00 on Sunday.

Although Eskom did not directly announce its plans after that, it included a table showing that it aims to implement stage 1 until 16:00 on Sunday, followed by Stage 2 until Monday morning.

The timetable after this period remains to be confirmed.

The table below summarises Eskom’s planned load-shedding schedule in the coming days.

Load-shedding schedule for 29 March–2 April 2023
Date Day Day-time (05:00–16:00) Evening (16:00–05:00)
29 March 2023 Wednesday Stage 1 Stage 2
30 March 2023 Thursday Stage 3 Stage 4
31 March 2023 Friday Stage 3 Stage 3
1 April 2023 Saturday Stage 2 Stage 2
2 April 2023 Sunday Stage 1 Stage 2

Eskom’s change to its load-shedding schedule was necessary due to several factors.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the utility said its breakdowns stood at 15,089MW of generating capacity, while planned maintenance had increased to 7,147MW.

In the past 24 hours, the utility had only managed to return a single generation unit to service at Duvha Power Station.

During the same period, a generating unit each at Lethabo, Kendal and Kriel power stations were taken offline for repairs.

There were also delays in returning a unit to service at Hendrina, Medupi and two units at Tutuka power station, Eskom’s worst performing plant.

In addition, five open-cycle gas turbines (OCGTs) at Ankerlig power station had to be taken offline for a planned upgrade of the plant’s control system.

Eskom typically uses OCGTs to supplement generation during the peak demand periods in the evening.

With each of Ankerlig’s OCGTs capable of contributing a maximum of about 147MW of capacity, the temporary shutdown takes roughly 735MW off the grid.

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Eskom increases load-shedding — emergency power station taken offline for upgrades