Stage 2 load shedding will be implemented on Thursday 13 August, following a dire decline in Eskom’s ability to generate power.
As South Africans hedge their hopes on news of lighter lockdown restrictions and a reopening of the economy following almost five months under lockdown, Eskom’s operational instability still poses a great risk to the country’s economic prospects.
On Wednesday evening, Eskom revealed that it had been hit by a wave of malfunctions and delays impacting at least seven generation units. According to the embattled power supplier, repairs conducted on five power generating units had taken longer than expected, coinciding with the shutdown of two other plants.
Eskom: ‘System severely constrained’
Eskom noted that an increase in demand, coupled with the numerous breakdowns, had forced the country into another bout of rotational load shedding in order to save the electrical grid from a complete meltdown. Eskom added:
“These breakdowns have added to the approximately 5 000MW of capacity out on planned maintenance while unplanned maintenance has risen to almost 11 000MW. The constrained system may persist for the rest of the week.”
Eskom further pleaded with South Africans to use electricity sparingly while the utility attempts to return power units to the grid.
Load shedding on Thursday 13 August 2020
Eskom announced that Stage 2 load shedding would last from 08:00 until 22:00 on Thursday 13 August but warned that the deteriorating situation could warrant fiercer rotational cuts. Eskom explained:
“The delay of the return to service of two units at Duvha and Tutuka and the breakdowns of four units at Kriel, Tutuka, and Kendal have resulted in the need for load shedding today. These units removed more than 2 000MW of capacity from the system. Eskom is working hard to return as many of these generation units to service.
The generating plant continues to perform at low levels of reliability, any unexpected shift such as an increase in unplanned breakdowns could result in a change in the load shedding stage at short notice.
There is a high possibility that Stage 2 load shedding maybe escalated to Stage 3 for the evening peak.”
Eskom’s latest load shedding schedule comes at the most inappropriate time for South Africans, as the country attempts to restart the gears of production and economic growth following months of lockdown-induced dormancy.
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