Eskom load shedding back on tonight

Eskom says that it will be forced to implement load shedding  from 5pm to 10pm on Tuesday evening (3 February).

“The power system remains constrained and stage one load shedding will be implemented from 17h00 to 22h00 tonight,” the power utility said in a statement.

Eskom had earlier on Tuesday morning aborted a planned stage one power cut amid a significant decrease in electricity demand.

“Eskom did not implement load shedding at 10am as the electricity demand decreased significantly, since the early warning notification,” the group said.

“System remains tight & should any unexpected change in demand / with our generating plant occur it may increase possibility of load shedding,” it said.

Earlier, spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said that the group would be forced to implement stage one load shedding from 10am to 10pm, due to a severely constrained system.

Phasiwe said the power cuts could end earlier if consumers used electricity sparingly.

The power grid was under pressure on Monday after one of Koeberg’s units — which produces 900MW — was taken out of service because of a technical fault.

Phasiwe said the unit was still down on Tuesday.

“We are trying to sync it into service. It will take a few days but it should be online soon.”

Meanwhile, Moody’s Investors Service said on Tuesday, that beyond a large increase in tariffs, a material improvement in Eskom’s financial profile is not expected before new generation capacity comes on stream.

“Weak operational performance combined with insufficient tariffs and a large capex [capital expenditure] programme continue to weigh on the company’s financial profile,” said Paul Marty, vice president-senior analyst, in an issuer comment.

“Absent a substantial increase in tariffs beyond what is already planned for the remainder of MYPD3, Moody’s does not anticipate a material improvement in Eskom’s financial profile before new generation capacity comes on stream.”

The agency expected Eskom’s credit metrics to remain very weak in the next 12 to 18 months.

This was compounded by South Africa’s slowing macro-economic environment, in turn partly driven by Eskom’s problems.

Marty said the agency’s Ba1 rating of Eskom was due to the parastatal’s weak operational performance and stretched financial profile, and Moody’s expectation of high government support.

Government help Eskom had received in the past included the R350 billion guarantee framework agreement, a subordinated loan of R60 billion, and a package of solutions announced in September 2014, which included an equity injection of at least R20 billion.

“The government announced in January 2015 that the first R10 billion tranche would be injected before June 2015,” Marty said.

Reporting with Sapa.

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Eskom load shedding back on tonight