Cold Front Sparks Power Concerns: A Call to Conserve Electricity

Thursday, July 20, 2023

As a cold front sweeps across Gauteng, state electricity company Eskom is appealing to residents to utilize electricity prudently.

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) had earlier projected a significant temperature decrease with daytime temperatures struggling to cross the 20°C mark in some areas of the province.

An Urgent Appeal Amid Chilly Weather

“Gauteng is in the grip of severe cold weather conditions. We implore customers to exercise restraint in their electricity usage. Rather than switching on a heater, consider wrapping up in extra layers of clothing, snuggling under a throw, or using a hot water bottle to keep warm,” Eskom advised.

Simultaneously, the power company has elevated load shedding due to unexpected breakdowns at eight of its generating units.

Eskom’s Ongoing Challenges

Eskom revealed that, “The system malfunctions have placed considerable strain on our power generation capabilities. The setbacks in bringing back one generating unit each at Kendal, Kriel, Matla power stations, and two units at the Tutuka power station to service, are exacerbating the current capacity bottlenecks.”

Eskom’s dedicated teams are laboring round-the-clock to get these generating units back up and running.

Load Shedding Schedule

Beginning at 5am today (Thursday), Eskom has implemented Stage 3 load shedding. This will escalate to Stage 4 from 4pm, which will persist until 5am on Friday. Afterwards, the load shedding will decrease to Stage 2 until 4pm, before returning to Stage 4 until 5am. This pattern will continue until further notice.

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The combined impact of these breakdowns has put an enormous 19,127MW of generation capacity out of action, further exacerbated by another 2,313MW offline due to maintenance.

A Plea to the Public

With the electricity demand expected to rise as the weekend approaches, Eskom has called upon the public to help alleviate the strain by turning off non-essential appliances.

Eskom expressed its gratitude to those who are responding to the call to conserve power, especially by turning off geysers and pool pumps between 5pm and 9pm. “Such steps reduce demand and ease the pressure on the power system, ultimately contributing to lower stages of load shedding,” Eskom added.