No load shedding planned this weekend: Eskom

Despite a vulnerable power system, no rolling blackouts are expected over the weekend and next week, Eskom said on Friday.

“While the system remains vulnerable, the probability of load shedding is low over the weekend and coming week,” Eskom group executive Steven Lenton told reporters in Johannesburg.

A coal storage silo which held more than 10,000 tons of coal at the Majuba power station in Mpumalanga collapsed on Saturday, affecting coal supplies to all six units at the power station.

“As the Majuba power station stabilises, the system looks stable in the next few days, with all power plants ready for evening peaks and system contingencies,” Lenton said.

Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona and group executives Dan Marokane, Thava Govender, Mongezi Nsokolo, and Matshela Koko were also in attendance.

Although the power system was “a lot healthier”, Lenton urged people to use electricity wisely.

“Saving electricity reduces pressure on the grid,” he said.

Govender said the Majuba power station was now generating 1600 Megawatts (MW) of electricity.

Before the collapse, it supplied 3600MW, roughly 10 percent of the country’s electricity capacity.

The silo collapse reduced its output to 1800MW and then to 600MW.

Govender said four of the six units at the Majuba power station were operational.

On Tuesday, trade union Solidarity said the silo had been showing signs of stress since January, but that Eskom had done nothing to correct the problem.

Eskom said the silo was inspected last year.

Democratic Alliance MP Natasha Michael said on Tuesday it had been widely reported that Eskom used wet coal.

This posed a serious danger, as the wet coal caused a chemical reaction that placed extra pressure on a silo, she said.

“It is very plausible that the collapse of the silo, and the resulting national rolling blackout, was caused by negligence on the part of Eskom.

“This possibility needs to be thoroughly and transparently investigated.”

Matona said a full investigation into the cause of the collapse was already under way.

“Until we know the full facts with certainty, it serves no purpose to speculate,” he said.

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No load shedding planned this weekend: Eskom