Beware colder winter in 2015: Eskom

 ·17 Jun 2015
Eskom winter

Eskom warns that winter 2015 in South Africa is likely to be colder than last year, with a higher expected demand in electricity during the peak periods.

Eskom’s acting chief executive Brian Molefe provided an update on the Quarterly Power System Status on Wednesday (17 June).

He said previously that he hoped not to have to load shed during winter, but assured the public on Wednesday that there is no prospect of a blackout in South Africa.

In winter, the national power utility group noted that more electricity is used during the morning and evening peak periods.

“Cold weather increases demand, which pushes our plant to run at 100% capacity for extended periods, further exacerbating unplanned outages,” the CEO said.

“We anticipate to supply 100% of electricity most days and 96% during peak periods from 6am to 10am and 5pm to 10pm,” Eskom said.

On average Eskom has a maintenance budget of 7,000 MW in winter, which is dependent on demand requirements.

The country’s peak daily power demand ranges between 32GW and 35GW. In 2014, peak demand hit 35,677MW.

Summer and winter load profile:

Summer and winter load

Summer and winter load

Eskom said that the recent load shedding from 8 June 2015 to 12 June 2015 was the result of an increase in demand and an increase in unplanned breakdowns, adding that every effort is being made to reduce plant breakdowns.

It also stressed that localised outages and illegal connections generally increase during winter due to increased demand and hence cause greater stress on the system.

However, despite load shedding on average in Stage 2, Eskom supplied 96% of electricity during the first half of the year.

Pointing towards more positive news, Eskom said that Medupi unit 6 is on track towards commercialisation and supplies up to 800 MW to the grid, while still in test (synchronisation) mode.

It noted that independent power producers (IPP) continue to play an important role, contributing about 1,827MW to the grid at a time when the power system is constrained.

Renewable energy contributed about 1,300 MW during the day, of which 800 MW was from solar and 500 MW from wind.

Benefits from the Build Programme contribute to the grid: 100 MW from Sere, and up to 800 MW from Medupi during peak periods, Eskom said.

Eskom said that an immediate solution is in place at Majuba Power Station, where a silo collapsed late last year. The power group said it hopes to enable the station to run all 6 units (3,843 MW) at full load.

More on Eskom

Wear warm clothes this winter: Eskom

No planned winter load shedding: Eskom CEO

Things get more complicated for Eskom in winter

Eskom facing ‘big problems’ in winter

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