High chance that load shedding will hit at short notice, Eskom warns

Embattled power utility Eskom has requested the public to reduce the usage of electricity as the power system is under severe pressure, with a high probability of load shedding hitting with very short notice.

In a statement on Tuesday (25 May), Eskom said that a shortage of generation capacity caused by a breakdown in generation units, and delays in returning to other services, has resulted in supply constraints.

While no load shedding is anticipated at this point, Eskom said that a move to stage 1 or stage 2 could happen at short notice. This is most likely to occur between 17h00 and 22h00 in the evening.

The current outlook for the rest of the week is expected to improve as teams are working to return more generators to service, Eskom said.

Breakdowns are currently totalling 1,857MW of capacity, while another 2,220MW is unavailable due to planned maintenance.

Eskom has previously warned of increased demand peaks, and a higher chance of ongoing load shedding during the evening peak period (17h00 to 22h00) throughout the winter.

The power utility implemented stage 2 load-shedding on Sunday evening because of 10 unit breakdowns at seven power stations.

The breakdowns included three generation units at Tutuka, one unit at Majuba, one unit at Kriel, and one unit at the Matla power station.

There were also trips at a unit each at Medupi, Kusile, and the Duvha power stations.

South Africa was hit by the worst year of load shedding on record in 2020. Data published by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in March shows that 2020 saw 859 hours of load shedding.

The most intensive load shedding was seen before the Covid-19 lockdown, which accounted for 63% of all load shedding seen in 2020. Most of this was stage 2 load shedding, the research body said.

For those living in the major metros, the load shedding schedules are available here:

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.

Read: Government’s 7-point plan to end load shedding in South Africa

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High chance that load shedding will hit at short notice, Eskom warns