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Eskom warns load shedding likely to continue this winter, eThekwini remains exempt

Eskom will continue with stage 2 load shedding until Monday as it continues to battle capacity shortages. Photographer Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Eskom will continue with stage 2 load shedding until Monday as it continues to battle capacity shortages. Photographer Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 4, 2022

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The eThekwini municipality will remain exempt from load shedding due to the severe infrastructure damage caused by the raging floods that ravaged the area recently.

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshansha confirmed that eThekwini municipality will continue to be exempt from load shedding.

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Eskom announced that stage 2 load shedding would be implemented from Tuesday at 5pm due to severe generation capacity constraints.

They said load shedding would continue for the rest of the week and end on Monday at 5am.

Eskom said it was caused by a shortage of generation capacity owing to delays in returning generators to service, as well as breakdowns of nine generators.

On Sunday, generation units at Lethabo, Tutuka, Ingula, Drakensberg, Arnot as well as two units each at Hendrina and Matla power stations suffered breakdowns.

Further, delays in returning generators to service at Arnot, Kendal and three units at Tutuka power stations added to the capacity constraints.

The power utility said its focusing on returning units that are down, however the situation remained that it was still running a very constrained system.

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According to Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter, as of Wednesday morning, the total amount of unplanned outages was 14758 MegaWatts - amounting to about three Medupi-sized power stations.

De Ruyter warned that while Eskom was working hard in returning the units to working order, consumers needed to use electricity sparingly as they were struggling to protect use of their reserves.

“We need to prevent a total blackout. We have to protect our reserves.

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“We are working very hard to return units to service and have been given the guidance that Stage 2 load shedding will remain until Monday 5am.

“At this point, we have no other options but to load shed,” De Ruyter said.

Eskom’s chief operations officer, Jan Oberholzer added that despite the implementation of stage 2 load shedding, Eskom was still using extensive generation reserves.

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He said they expect about three units to return to operation on Wednesday and more over the next few days.

Commenting on the outlook of load shedding for this Winter, Oberholzer painted a bleak picture.

“To be honest and direct, we do not have sufficient capacity in the country.

“We have a system that is old and that was not maintained properly. This old system has been taking a beating for the last 15 years,” he said.

Oberholzer said that because of this situation, it was very difficult to conduct planned maintenance.

“We are trying our best to match capacity and demand however we are working with a very unpredictable system.

“We will try our utmost not to load shed the country but we find ourselves in a very difficult spot so it remains that the risk of load shedding this winter is relatively high,” he said.

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