Eskom could lift load shedding earlier than expected

Power utility Eskom says that its system is in better shape thanks to work done to get units back to operation, while a review of the country’s load shedding status is underway.

In a media briefing on Friday morning (4 February), Eskom chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer said that an announcement on the load shedding status will be made after 17h00.

Oberholzer however, warned that although the system has improved – and Kusile unit 1 has returned to the grid – Eskom needs to take the whole system performance into consideration.

“There have been very positive improvements, and we will make a decision on whether or not to end load shedding early. There is always the possibility of breakdowns. Things look positive, but we will make an announcement after 17h00,” he said.

Eskom was forced to implement stage 2 load shedding on Wednesday (2 February), due to ongoing power constraints because of multiple unit breakdowns at power stations.

Because the power utility was forced to dip into its reserves to keep the lights on, it said it required load shedding until Monday (7 February) to regenerate its storage.

Eskom chief executive officer Andre de Ruyter said that overnight work on Thursday saw a strong recovery in both operation and reserves.

Dams for pumped storage have largely recovered, with a few more hours required to bring them to full storage, while diesel reserves have also mostly been recovered, he said.

“All in all, we are in a much better place than where we were when we needed to implement load shedding,” he said.

As of Friday, 6,580 MW is offline for planned maintenance, on top of 11,258 MW of unplanned outages. Friday demand is forecast at 26,793MW.

“We will be monitoring the situation during the day, and we will see if there is room to end load shedding. We will not unduly delay the lifting of load shedding, but we will be prudent in deciding, and not introduce additional risk into the system,” De Ruyter said.

Read: Eskom gives load shedding update ahead of the weekend

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Eskom could lift load shedding earlier than expected