Eskom has announced that it will implement stage 6 load-shedding from 12:00 (noon) on Wednesday “until further notice.”
The state-owned power utility said this is due to a high number of breakdowns since midnight, and the need to strictly preserve the remaining emergency generation reserves.
“Eskom will publish a full statement in due course,” it stated.
This comes after Eskom increased load-shedding to stage 4 at short notice on Wednesday morning.
In addition to rationing emergency diesel reserves, Eskom said yesterday it was creating space to replenish dam levels at its pumped storage schemes.
“As previously communicated, due to the depletion of the budget to acquire diesel for the open cycle gas turbines, Eskom has been forced to strictly conserve the remainder of the fuel reserves to protect against further unplanned outages,” the power utility said.
On 20 November, Eskom revealed that it had run out of money for diesel.
Eskom said it had already spent double its budget on diesel for this financial year — R11 billion.
It uses the fuel at its open-cycle gas turbine peaking power stations Ankerlig and Gourikwa.
Together, the two stations generate 2,067MW of rapidly dispatchable electricity to help meet South Africa’s demand during peak periods, or prevent two stages of load-shedding.
However, due to its budget overrun, Eskom said it would not be ordering more diesel until April 2023.
Government scrambled to obtain diesel supplies for the ailing power utility, with public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan informing Parliament last week that they secured a limited supply from state oil company PetroSA.
On Friday, finance minister Enoch Godongwana revealed that Eskom subsequently negotiated a deal with PetroSA for diesel that should cover its requirements until March 2023 — its financial year-end.
He also said that Eskom had asked National Treasury for R19.5 billion rand to buy diesel, but the department is not likely to grant the request.
“We don’t have it,” Godongwana said.
Eskom said in a statement on Friday that it would no longer be burning diesel to reduce load-shedding.
“Due to the depletion of the budget to acquire diesel for the open cycle gas turbines, Eskom has been forced to strictly conserve the fuel for the direst of emergencies,” it said.
Eskom said the chimney failure at Kusile, and the scheduled refuelling and refurbishment of Koeberg unit 1 starting this week also contribute to the capacity shortage.
“[These] will further reduce available generation capacity and significantly increase the occurrence of load-shedding during the next 6 –12 months,” Eskom said.