Analysts have warned that Eskom’s power fleet shows no signs of recovery and that load shedding is likely to remain, or even worsen over the short term.
Energy analyst Chris Yelland told the City Press that problems could escalate in January as Eskom is expected to continue with major planned maintenance at Cape Town’s Koeberg power station.
“What worries me is that one of Koeberg’s units will have to be taken offline for five months in January,” he said. “When that unit is returned to service, it will be the turn of the other one. This means that generating capacity of about 900MW won’t be available for most of next year,” said Yelland.
Dr Christie Viljoen, a senior economist at PwC, said that it was impossible to make forecasts for load shedding in South Africa due to the unpredictable nature in which power outages are introduced.
What makes things even worse is that Eskom chief executive Andre De Ruyter recently indicated that load shedding was the result of negligence on the part of Eskom staff.
“You can buy all the right machines and fix everything that’s broken, but if the people are negligent, it remains a problem,” he said.
Stage 2 load shedding
On Friday (4 November), Eskom announced that it would be moving to stage 4 load shedding, with stage 2 load shedding implemented for the rest of the weekend.
The power utility said that power outages result from a shut down of its three generating units at Kendal power station, the trip of a unit each at Tutka and Matimba power stations, and the delayed return of units at Majuba and Lethabo.
“Stage 4 load shedding is necessary to stop the use of OCGT (open-cycle gas turbine) generators to preserve the remaining fuel at these power stations, which is critically low.
“There is insufficient diesel available in the country to continue generating with the OCGTs at the current rate. It is anticipated that some generating units will return to service alter today and overnight, allowing a reduction to stage 2 load shedding for the remainder of the weekend.”
Eskom has warned in a summer load shedding forecast for 2021/2022 that its system is likely to remain severely constrained for the near future.
For people living in the major metros, load shedding schedules are available here:
- City of Johannesburg
- City of Ekurhuleni
- City of Tshwane
- City of Cape Town (PDF)
- Nelson Mandela Bay
- Buffalo City