State-owned power utility Eskom has announced that it will implement stage 4 load shedding from 12h00 on Wednesday (27 October) until 05h00 on Friday (29 October).
In a statement on Wednesday, the struggling utility said this was occasioned by a “further shortage of generation capacity,” adding that stage 2 load shedding will continue on Friday until Saturday at 05h00.
Generating units trip
“Over the past 24 hours, a unit each at Medupi, Kusile and Matla power stations tripped while a unit each at Lethabo and Arnot power stations were forced to shut down,” Eskom explained.
“This constrained the power system further requiring extensive use of emergency reserves and therefore, hampering the recovery of these reserves. Some generating units have returned to service and we anticipate another two units to return to service during the day.
“In addition, Koeberg Unit 1 is expected to return to service today and begin ramping up to full output within 48 hours. Total breakdowns currently amount to 14,957 MW while planned maintenance is 5,301 MW of capacity.”
South Africa has already been experiencing stage 2 load shedding for several days now. It was initially restricted to 21h00 until 05h00 before being ramped up to a 24-hour cycle on Tuesday.
The escalating load shedding crisis comes just days after Eskom warned that the risk of persistent power cuts remain until August 2022.
“The capacity outlook for the period ending August 2022 shows that the power system remains constrained. Eskom will be required to extensively use the Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGTs) to either avert load shedding or to reduce the magnitude thereof,” it said on Monday.
A unit each at Medupi and Kusile power stations achieved commercial operation this year, adding 1 594MW to the grid. This has however brought little respite because of frequent breakdowns.
“The successful completion of Medupi suffered a blow as Unit 4 (720MW) of the power station experienced generator explosion on 8 August 2021. This was just a week after the last of the six units was officially handed over to Generation on 31 July 2021,” Eskom explained.
“Eskom experienced another major setback on 11 September 2021 when Kendal Unit 1 (640MW) generator transformer caught fire. Both units remain offline, which puts further strain on the power system.”
Eskom’s chief operating officer, Jan Oberholzer, reiterated the utility’s call for an additional 4,000MW to 6,000MW generation capacity to complement available capacity to avert load shedding.