Weather to test Eskom’s resolve

As a cold front settles in across the country – set to reach Johannesburg on Thursday – Eskom faces a difficult task to “protect the national grid from a total shutdown”.

The power utility on Wednesday (18 June) declared a system emergency, noting that the national power grid is severely constrained.

“The constrained conditions are expected to continue tomorrow, particularly between 5:30pm and 6:30pm,” Eskom said.

It warned that if the demand did not decrease, this could result in the group invoking its emergency protocols and implementing rotational load reduction.

“Although Eskom has adequate generating capacity to meet the demand during the day, the challenge is over the short sharp evening peak – particularly between 5:30pm and 6:30pm – when electricity demand increase up to 36 000 MW.”

“The increase is predominantly due to the use of space heating, geysers and cooking that takes place during this time,” it said.

Eskom requested commercial customers, particularly shopping centres and office blocks, to switch off non-essential lights and not to leave office equipment such as photocopiers and computers in standby mode after hours.

“Eskom will utilise all necessary emergency resources at its disposal to keep the lights on, but should the demand not decrease, load reduction will be implemented as a measure of last resort to protect the national grid from a total shutdown,” it said.

Meanwhile, also on Wednesday, Fitch Ratings revised the outlook on Eskom to negative from stable and affirmed its long-term local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR).

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Weather to test Eskom’s resolve