Eskom has called on all South Africans to use electricity sparingly as the power system was under pressure.
“We appeal to all customers to reduce their electricity usage and to switch off all non-essential appliances as the power system is extremely tight at present, particularly during the evening peak hours between 6pm and 9pm,” the power utility said in a statement.
Eskom said this would make it significantly easier to manage the power system. The utility said reduced electricity usage would also enable Eskom to do planned maintenance to ensure the reliability of its power plant.
“Eskom continues to make progress with its programme of planned maintenance but the system remains tight.”
In an update on the state of the power system, Eskom said one of its reactors at the Koeberg nuclear plant near Cape Town was being repaired.
“Koeberg unit one is still being repaired and is now expected to return to service only next month.”
Eskom said rigorous testing was done on the unit. The electrical fault which originally caused the unit to trip on February 20 had been addressed, and another fault on a valve which arose as a result of the trip was being repaired.
“While this fault does not endanger the safety of the unit it is not possible to operate the unit at full power without it being fully functional.”
The repair would take some time and it was only expected to return to service next month.
“Koeberg unit two continues to operate at full power.”
Eskom said the transmission line from Cahora Bassa in Mozambique which was damaged by the recent flooding of the Limpopo River was also being repaired.
“Imports from Cahora Bassa are now at 650 MW. Plant performance continues to be volatile and the power system is very tight.”
At the end of February, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) approved an annual increase of 8% in electricity tariffs.
Eskom had applied to Nersa for an average annual increase of 13% to cover its own
needs over the next five years, plus 3% a year for independent power producers, giving a
total of 16% and proposed revenue of R1.1 trillion.
“We will have to study the decision in detail to understand its consequences and assess its
impact,” Eskom said.
The new tariffs will take effect for Eskom customers from 1 April 2013.