Eskom has provided clarity on the state of its power generation capabilities and the level of load shedding residents can expect to be introduced across South Africa.
In a parliamentary briefing to the Standing Committee on Appropriations on Wednesday (2 September), the power utility said that it expects power constraints to persist for at least the next year, warning that load shedding may extend all the way into 2022 depending on pressure on the system.
“For the remainder of the 2020 – 2021 full year, it is envisaged that load shedding will be required from August to December 2020 and in February to March 2021 for the Unplanned Capability Loss Factor (UCLF) at 11,000 MW.”
“In the following full year, at 11,000 MW of UCLF, it is envisaged that that load shedding will be required in June to July 2021.”
UCLF measures the lost energy due to unplanned production interruptions resulting from equipment failures and other plant conditions. Eskom previously stated it needed to keep these unplanned outages below 9,500MW to avoid load shedding altogether. This is the level at which it can comfortably meet demand.
In the event that unplanned breakdowns exceed forecast levels, more than 13,000 MW of UCLF, Eskom said that the country can expect up to stage 3 load shedding until March 2022.
The power utility said that the most recent round of power cuts are due to unplanned losses across its entire generation fleet. This included trips, unexpected outages, and the unavailability of non-commercial units at its Medupi and Kusile plants, it said.
“Load shedding is as a result of an accumulation of unanticipated events, aggravated by a severe weather event, and the unplanned losses have already returned to below 11,000 MW.
“However, the impact on water and diesel resources requires further load shedding.”
Continued load shedding
Eskom says that its systems are severely constrained, forcing the company to implement stage 2 load shedding for a second day on Wednesday (1 September), from 10h00 to 22h00.
The power utility said that it suffered multiple unit breakdowns, which has led to the constrains. Ten generation units at seven power stations have broken down over the last 48 hours.
Eskom reintroduced power cuts for the first time in weeks on Monday, and any further breakdowns may push the load shedding stage to higher levels, Eskom warned.
For those living in the major metros, they can check to see when they will be affected:
- City of Johannesburg
- City of Ekurhuleni
- City of Tshwane
- City of Cape Town (PDF)
- Nelson Mandela Bay
- Buffalo City
For access to other load shedding schedules, Eskom has made them available on loadshedding.eskom.co.za.
Smartphone users can also download the app EskomSePush to receive push notifications when load shedding is implemented, as well as the times the area you are in will be off.