State power utility Eskom on Thursday warned that there is a high possibility of loadshedding during the evening peak because of a “severely constrained” power generation system.
It urged members of the public to reduce electricity usage as it works to return generating units that have tripped back to service.
Eskom said, “One generation unit at the Tutuka power station tripped, while another one was taken off the grid, as well as a unit at Lethabo. The return to service of a generation unit each at Duvha and Kendal power stations have been delayed.
“All of these have added significant pressure to the generation system. Any additional breakdowns will compromise Eskom’s ability to supply the country through the peak demand period of 17:00 – 21:00.”
Situation may persist
The struggling utility added that the situation may persist through the weekend. “We urge the public’s co-operation in managing demand in order to help us avoid loadshedding and supply the country’s demand through the peak periods,” it said.
On Tuesday, another unit at Medupi power station also tripped, but Eskom said on Wednesday that it had been successfully returned to service.
Eskom has managed to avoid loadshedding for almost five months now. The initial lockdown implemented in March also reduced electricity demand significantly.
Demand however increased following the easing of the lockdown. During a briefing to Parliament in early June, Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said the utility was planning to implement stage one loadshedding for only three days during winter.
He said this was likely to be in July, adding, “We’re anticipating that if loadshedding is required, it will be during the evening peak only.
“We’re working very closely with our industrial customers to ensure that we don’t affect them unnecessarily … You will have three days of load-shedding stage one, none on stage two and none on stage three.”
Eskom has also been implementing “load reduction” in various parts of Gauteng in recent weeks, particularly in the Vaal, Soweto and northern Pretoria.
This load reduction is usually implemented between 17h00 and 22h00 “to avoid network overloading in high density areas that are prone to illegal connections, meter bypasses and vandalism of electricity infrastructure.”