050910 Electricity pylons carry power from Cape Town's Koeberg nuclear power plant July 17, 2009. South Africa will need 20 gigawatts (GW) of new power generation capacity by 2020 and would require double that amount a decade later to meet rising demand, the country's power utility said September 7, 2009. Picture taken July 17, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings (SOUTH AFRICA ENERGY BUSINESS)

Johannesburg - Unplanned outages jumped to 5‚026 Megawatts (MW) on November 1 from 4‚374MW on October 29‚ Eskom said in its 85th system status bulletin.

Planned maintenance eased to 3‚956MW on November 1 from 4‚252MW on October 29 and 4‚014MW on October 25.

Eskom said it continued to make progress with its programme of planned maintenance “but the system remains tight”.

Available capacity was only 33‚088MW compared with peak demand of 31‚648MW on November 1 resulting in a margin of 4.4%‚ while on October 8‚ when peak demand was 31‚943MW‚ the margin was only 3.4%. The international norm is to have a margin of 15%.

Eskom’s internal benchmark is to have no more than 3‚600MW in unplanned maintenance‚ a benchmark it has so far missed more than 60% of the time so far this year.

The last time it achieved this benchmark or below was on August 14.

Peak demand is forecast at 31‚485MW on Monday‚ 31‚436MW on Tuesday and 31‚401MW on Wednesday.

Eskom has urged South Africans to save electricity to reduce demand on the grid.

“We urge all South Africans to partner with us to save 10 percent of their electricity usage, especially during peak periods, from 5pm to 9pm,” Eskom said in a system status bulletin.

“This will make it significantly easier to manage the power system during this challenging time, while also enabling us to do planned maintenance to ensure the reliability of our plant.” - I-Net Bridge and Sapa