HomeIndustry SectorsAsset MaintenanceEskom to shed load after short-lived good start to week

Eskom to shed load after short-lived good start to week

Eskom started off a morning press briefing about current electricity challenges saying the system was coping but announced stage two loadshedding by the end of the short meeting.

The morning started with unplanned outages, which at that point were manageable, but Eskom Group CEO Andre De Ruyter ended the briefing with an apology that the loss of units at Medupi, Kendall and Duvah have led to insufficient generation capacity. “As such we have no alternative but to implement stage two loadshedding from 2pm today until 5am on [Saturday] 20 November,” said de Ruyter.

Of the five units which failed yesterday, a unit at Majuba, Kriel and Matimbal power stations have returned to service while the remaining two units are undergoing boiler tube leak repairs.

The loss of a unit each at Medupi, Duvha and Kendall power stations this morning brings total breakdowns to 15,485MW while the planned maintenance is 4,100MW of capacity.

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The projected number for diesel reserves suggest the Open Cycle Gas Turbine power stations would burn through the fuel stock quickly if left to run continually as they are currently doing. “We have to preserve emergency reserves,” said de Ruyter.

This last-second announcement obviated all the reassurances the Group CEO had just announced about yesterday’s loss of five units at different power stations not creating a supply constraint.

As was indicated last week Eskom will now go back to daily morning briefings for as long as this next loadshedding period lasts.

Eskom really could do with more generational capacity

Addressing questions about broader Eskom issues, de Ruyter pointed out he would finally today get a chance to answer questions from the Portfolio Committee at parliament about their annual report.

He also noted that Eskom has consistently been saying they need between 4,000 and 6,000MW new generational capacity to be brought online and as the designated single buyer of electricity in terms of the power purchase agreements that stem out of the IPP Office’s procurement process they are dependent on that office’s movements.

“We are looking forward to that capacity being made available to us so we can get sufficient headroom to make repairs and maintenance.

“We obviously have to comply with the PMFA, it is the law of the land. We have no opportunity to ignore it unless given explicit exemption,” said de Ruyter.

He said the new price of between 42 and 45c per kilowatt-hour for solar power announced by Bid Window 5 preferred bidders was very attractive. We look forward to those processes being completed as soon as possible so we can get the megawatts onto the grid,” said de Ruyter.

Asked about last week’s announcements about municipalities not complying with loadshedding schedules, Group Executive: Distribution Monde Bala said they hoped there would be no problems in this regard during this recent need to shed load.

“We have been having extensive engagement with all the municipalities that do their own loadshedding. Friday last week we had a joint forum where all control centre officials were in attendance led by the system operator where we discussed the issue in detail. We do not expect any issue with regards to how loadshedding is executed and will continue to monitor the situation and intervene whenever required,” explained Bala.

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Now it’s Eskom vs municipalities in the loadshedding battleground

Theresa Smith
Theresa Smith is a Content Specialist for ESI Africa.