Cape Town - After 12 consecutive days where load shedding was suspended during the day, Eskom has said that until further notice, Stage 1 power cuts will be implemented from 5pm to 4pm and Stage 3 from 4pm until midnight throughout the week.
Eskom spokesperson Daphne Mokoena said: “Rotational power cuts will be halted once again during the day while Stage 3 will remain in the evenings.”
Mokoena said as of Sunday, breakdowns stood at 16 524MW, while a further 4376MW was off-line due to planned maintenance, leaving Eskom’s energy availability factor at 56% of installed capacity.
The energy availability factor has not been below 55% since the week beginning May 8.
Mokoena said at the weekend, a generating unit each at Hendrina, Kriel and Medupi power stations had been returned to service.
“In the same period, a generation unit each at Arnot and Medupi power stations were taken out of service due to breakdowns.”
She said the delays in returning generating units at Grootvlei, Hendrina and Tutuka power stations to service contributed to the current capacity constraints. Eskom teams were working around the clock to return these units to service in the next few days.
Municipalities, meanwhile, are taking no chances in their bid to protect their customers from the effects of power cuts.
City of Cape Town officials told the legislature’s ad hoc committee meeting on the energy crisis that they didn’t think Eskom’s technical performance would improve in the short to medium term.
They said working on the assumption that load shedding would continue for at least the next five years, with an average severity of Stage 4, the City’s energy resilience programmes hoped to develop the capability to mitigate up to four stages of load-shedding in City supply areas by 2026.
They said the Steenbras Pumped Storage remained a key short-term lever to mitigate up to two stages of blackouts for the City and plans were afoot to maximise its capacity.
The South African Local Government Association (Salga) has said it is “greatly concerned” about the excessive load shedding.
Salga’s sustainable energy specialist Silas Mulaudzi told the ad hoc committee that load shedding overall had had a negative impact on municipalities.
Mulaudzi said this was not only in terms of revenue, but also additional expenditure, damage and vandalism to infrastructure and the theft of electricity.
To alleviate the situation, Salga had proposed that unused conditional grants be used to fund energy solutions in municipalities.