Eskom ramps up load shedding as capacity runs out

Power utility Eskom says it will move to stage 2 load shedding from 14:00 until 22:00, due to a shortage of capacity.

“Please note that the power system is severely constrained as demand is constantly increasing,” it said in a brief statement on social media Wednesday (15 July).

“We are currently 2 000MW higher than yesterday. Please switch off electric heaters, geysers, pool pumps and other non-essential appliances.”

Eskom said on Tuesday, that it was able to return a generation unit at the Medupi and Majuba power stations to service. In addition, a unit at the Koeberg station was synchronised into the grid on Monday.

It said that it was, therefore, able to move to stage 1 load shedding. However, this has been short-lived.

South African Mineral Resources and Energy minister Gwede Mantashe tested positive for Covid-19 as the nation struggles to end a new round of power cuts and curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg reported.

Mantashe will remain in isolation with his wife and work from home, South Africa’s presidency said in a statement late Tuesday. He is the first cabinet minister in the country to be diagnosed with the disease.

“The minister remains committed to a course of ensuring security of energy and petroleum products supply,” it said.

Bloomberg noted that the electricity cuts are taking place during the coldest month of the year and as Covid-19 patients rapidly fill the nation’s hospitals.

Mantashe has pledged to ensure security of electricity supply, but efforts to procure emergency power have been hamstrung by policy and regulatory delays.

His department didn’t immediately reply to an email sent Tuesday on the progress of the emergency procurement of 2,000 megawatts of power.

Read: Eskom may have broken the law with tender that ballooned over 12,000%

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Eskom ramps up load shedding as capacity runs out