Eskom announces longest continuous load-shedding break in a year

Eskom will continue to suspend load-shedding until the evening peak demand period on Monday, 2 October 2023.

The utility had initially planned to return to stage 2 load-shedding at 16:00 on Sunday, 1 October 2023.

However, in a statement on Sunday morning, Eskom said due to the return to service of Kusile Unit 3, the sustained improved generation performance and the lower-than-anticipated demand for electricity, it would continue suspending load-shedding for another 24 hours.

At 16:00 on Monday, it plans to implement stage 2 load-shedding again.

“Eskom will communicate should any significant changes occur,”  the utility said.

If Eskom is able to stick to its planned schedule, it will have suspended load-shedding for 59 hours — the longest period without the rotational blackouts since early September 2022.

According to data from load-shedding app EskomSePush, the previous longest reprieve from load-shedding in 2023 was 42 hours.

That occurred from 11:00 on Monday, 20 March until 05:00 on Wednesday, 22 March 2023.

The last two days without any load-shedding in 2022 were 29 and 30 October.

That load-shedding break lasted an additional 5 hours on 31 October, putting the total length at 53 hours.

The calendar below from The Outlier shows the highest level of load-shedding implemented on each day during 2022 and 2023.

Eskom returned the 800MW Kusile Unit 3 to service on Saturday, after nearly a year of being offline.

Alongside Unit 1 and Unit 2, Unit 3 was taken offline after the collapse of a part of the flue-gas desulphurisation duct (FGD) in late October 2022.

Unit 1 and Unit are scheduled to return to service by the end of October and November 2023, respectively.

The utility is able to return these units to service using temporary stacks until the end of March 2025, while it conducts a full repair of the FGD structure.

These temporary stacks will result in the units exceeding the legal limits on emissions, thanks to an exemption granted by the National Air Quality Officer.

Eskom also plans to synchronise Kusile Unit 5 to the grid for the first time.

Altogether, these four units will add a maximum potential capacity of 2,880MW to the grid, roughly equal to how much power is shed during three stages of load-shedding.

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Eskom announces longest continuous load-shedding break in a year