Eskom warns of ‘severely constrained’ power grid

Power utility Eskom has warned that its power grid is severely constrained after two generation units tripped on Wednesday (12 August).

The group added that the return to service of five other units has also been delayed, resulting in the two new trips exacerbating power issues.

“We urge the people of South Africa to reduce electricity consumption in order to help us power the country through the evening peak,” it said.

The generation units that have been delayed include two at the Tutuka power station, and one unit each at Duvha, Matimba and Kusile. The two tripped units are at Tutuka and Kusile.

These breakdowns have added to the 5,500MW of capacity out on planned maintenance. Unplanned maintenance has increased to almost 11,000MW, it said.

Eskom warned that these severely constrained conditions will likely persist for the rest of the week.

Load shedding will return

Eskom chief executive officer, Andre de Ruyter on Tuesday warned that load shedding will be a part of the South African power picture for at least another year, with cuts expected in the next few weeks.

This will allow for the utility’s maintenance schedule, which are long overdue.

He said that the group anticipates demand on the power grid to return to near pre-lockdown levels in the coming months, as the country moves towards further opening up the economy.

Irrespective of the immediate demand, however, he said that the risk of load shedding will always be present, given the company’s history of not doing necessary maintenance.

“It is likely we will have an increased risk of load-shedding going forward. I think there is a risk of load-shedding always in the system given the lack of predictability, reliability, the lack of maintenance that was not done,” he said.

Read: Cape Town’s plan to get off Eskom’s grid hit by legal setback

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Eskom warns of ‘severely constrained’ power grid