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Eskom: Colder weather signals load shedding risk this week

Apr 08 2019 16:14
Lameez Omarjee, Fin24

Colder weather conditions will drive up electricity demand, increasing the risk of load shedding this week, Eskom said.

The power utility on Monday issued a statement warning of a high risk of load shedding, as determined by its winter plan.

"The power system is forecasted to be tight for this week," the statement read. "The winter plan indicates a higher demand, with three days being extremely tight, with a high risk of load shedding."

Last week Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan and Eskom executives held a briefing at Lethabo Power Station in the Free State, to update stakeholders on the status of the system.

Eskom had implemented Stage 4 load shedding in March due to plant failures, as well as a shortage of power imports from Mozambique's Cahora Bassa dam following a cyclone in the region.

The grid has since been stabilised, but government and Eskom have not ruled out load shedding in the future.

Gordhan said at the briefing that if needed, Stage 1 load shedding would be implemented in the winter months until the end of August.

In Monday's statement, CEO Phakamani Hadebe reiterated previous communication from Eskom that a plan to manage the electricity system for the winter months had been developed. An extensive review of the power system to identify problems has also been completed, Hadebe said.

Load shedding will be implemented when unplanned breakdowns increase to more than 9 500MW, or when there are delays in returning units online from planned maintenance. Load shedding will also be implemented in cases of "unanticipated disruptive" events, he said.

So far, in April, Eskom has managed to avoid load shedding for the three days it was forecast, due to good plant performance. "We managed to go through periods of high demand in the evening peak without using a lot of diesel," Hadebe said.

Eskom also expects additional power to be generated from units which will be returning to service.

One of the units at Kusile Power station will join the grid for the first time by the end of April. Imports from the Cahora Bassa dam will also be fully restored, Eskom said.

Eskom has urged South Africans to continue using electricity sparingly, and will officially launch its "use electricity sparingly" campaign this week. The power utility noted that 554 MW were saved when lights were switched off for Earth Hour on March 30, 2019. 

eskom  |  load shedding  |  electricity  |  businesses  |  sa economy  |  power


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