Eskom CEO gives load shedding outlook for South Africa

Eskom says that the risk of continued load shedding remains high for the rest of the week, with some relief expected ahead of the Easter weekend as more units are brought online.

In a media briefing on Tuesday (12 April), chief executive Andre de Ruyter said the heavy rain in KZN combined with system outages had contributed to the latest round of load shedding.

He added that a number of units are expected to return before the long weekend, but that system performance was still ‘disappointing’.

“The outlook, therefore, is that we will face generation constraints going forward. We have therefore welcomed the latest announcement from the Department of Energy to procure more energy capacity.”

“From the middle to the end of next year (2023) we should start seeing additional capacity brought to the grid and we really look forward to that which will alleviate some of the pressure we are currently seeing and give us more headroom to perform maintenance on Eskom fleets.”

In addition to the recent bid window announced by the department, de Ruyter said the power utility had started the bid process to begin renewable energy projects on Eskom-owned land. These should also be added to the grid in the next 18-24 months.

De Ruyter confirmed that Eskom will ‘throttle back’ on its planned maintenance over the coming months, with the group’s generating units also historically performing better over these colder, drier months.

This means the outlook for winter is not ‘entirely dire’ and Eskom will give customers a warning when load shedding is introduced, he said. “Unfortunately we have to deal with probabilities – if we knew exactly when load shedding was going to take place it would make everybody’s lives much easier.”

He added that Eskom will publish its updated load shedding scenarios for the country in the coming weeks as part of a system report.

Stage 2 load shedding

Eskom has announced that stage 2 load shedding will be implemented from 17h00 on Tuesday (12 April) afternoon until 05h00 on Wednesday.

The power utility warned the public that this constrained supply situation will persist throughout the week, with the possibility that more load shedding is likely to be implemented should the generation capacity deteriorate further.

“Unit 5 of Medupi Power Station returned to service during the night. Three generating units at the Camden Power Station tripped during the night, contributing to the current shortage of capacity. Eskom teams are working hard to return as many of these units to service as possible.

“We currently have 4,804MW on planned maintenance, while another 14,449MW of capacity is unavailable due to unplanned breakdowns. We are managing the emergency generation reserves to limit the stage of load shedding.”

Eskom said its overnight load shedding will be used to replenish the dam level at the pump storage power stations in preparation for the remainder of the week.

“Eskom would like to apologise for the implementation of load shedding and would like to reiterate that load shedding is implemented only as a last resort in order to protect the national grid. We will communicate should there be any significant changes to the supply situation.”

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Eskom CEO gives load shedding outlook for South Africa