New Heights in Load Shedding: The Revised Eskom Schedule Amid Cold Snap

Increased Demand Drives Eskom to Escalate Load Shedding

Eskom, South Africa’s power utility, announced a fresh twist in the load shedding saga, scaling it up to a rotation between stage 3 and stage 4. This is a step up from the previous schedule that oscillated between stage 2 and stage 4.

The catalyst behind this escalation? Higher power demand due to the biting cold weather sweeping across parts of the country, which has rocketed to around 33,000MW. The added pressure on the grid comes at a time when generating capacity is waning.

Relying on OCGTs and Pump Storage Generation

The reduced capacity has necessitated the extensive use of Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGTs) and pump storage generation in the past 36 hours. However, to safeguard the emergency reserves, Eskom plans to implement stage 4 load shedding from 14h00 on Tuesday (11 July) to 05h00 on Wednesday.

The pattern doesn’t end there. Following this, stage 3 load shedding will be in effect from 05h00 to 14h00, swiftly followed by stage 4 load shedding from 14h00 until 05h00 on Thursday. This new routine is set to continue until further notice.

The Load Shedding Schedule for the Coming Days:

Tuesday, 11 July

  • Stage 2: until 14h00
  • Stage 4: 14h00 to 00h00

Wednesday, 12 July

  • Stage 4: 00h00 to 05h00
  • Stage 3: 05h00 to 14h00
  • Stage 4: 14h00 to 00h00
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Thursday, 13 July

  • Stage 4: 00h00 to 05h00
  • Stage 3: 05h00 to 14h00
  • Stage 4: 14h00 to 00h00

Outages and Maintenance Add to the Power Challenge

Alongside soaring demand, power outages have surged to 16,313MW of generating capacity. This comes on top of planned maintenance outages, which have been slimmed down to 3,478MW.

Eskom noted some progress over the past 24 hours, with a generating unit at each of the Arnot, Matla, and Medupi power stations returned to service. However, during the same timeframe, a unit at Matla and two units at Kriel power stations faced breakdowns.

Further compounding the capacity constraints, there have been delays in returning a unit at Kendal and two units at Tutuka power stations to service. These developments will undoubtedly continue to test Eskom and the country’s power resilience as we navigate through these cold, dark days.

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