Eskom’s New Power Struggle
Eskom, South Africa’s power utility, has revealed its plan to escalate load shedding to Stage 5. This comes on the back of an announcement detailing a Stage 4 load shedding regimen starting from 16:00 today until 05:00 on Monday. Stage 5 load shedding will kick in later Monday afternoon.
This unfortunate development is partly attributed to a generation unit at Duvha Power Station breaking down within the last 24 hours. Adding to these woes, delayed service restoration at Arnot, Camden, Kendal, Tutuka, and two units at Hendrina power stations are causing additional capacity constraints.
Eskom reassures that they are working around the clock to return these units to service swiftly.
A Plea to Citizens
In the wake of these developments, the utility has urged South African citizens to practice mindful electricity consumption, particularly during the peak period from 17:00 to 21:00.
Load Shedding Schedule
Here’s a snapshot of the upcoming load shedding schedule:
Sunday, 21 May:
Stage 4: 16h00 to 00h00
Monday, 22 May:
Stage 4: 00h00 to 05h00
Stage 3: 05h00 to 16h00
Stage 5: 16h00 to 00h00
Tuesday, 23 May:
Stage 5: 00h00 to 05h00
This schedule will persist until further notice, with Eskom committing to provide updates should there be significant changes.
Concerns for the Winter Months
With the winter months looming and electricity demand set to surge, there’s significant apprehension over potential blackouts exceeding Stage 6 load shedding. Calib Cassim, acting CEO of Eskom, indicated during a recent briefing that the risk of Stage 8 load shedding this winter is “extremely high,” should they fail to contain unplanned losses.
To grasp the gravity of this, consider that during Stage 6, outages last for 12 hours within a 32-hour cycle. This leaps to 16 hours at Stage 8, underscoring the critical need for short-term generation capacity.