Pretoria – Eskom has announced that it will be suspending load shedding until 5am on Wednesday, with Stage 2 load shedding set to kick in from the morning and Stage 3 in the afternoon.
The struggling power utility said this was because of the slight improvement in available generation capacity and the decrease in the demand for electricity due to the public holiday.
Eskom said Stage 2 would be implemented after 5am, while Stage 3 load shedding would be implemented from Thursday.
“This pattern will be repeated until further notice,’’ Eskom said.
Last week, Eskom announced that six of its coal-fired power stations achieved an energy availability factor (EAF) of 70%, a milestone last achieved in May last year.
These power stations were Camden, Duvha, Matla, and Eskom’s three best-performing stations Lethabo, Matimba and Medupi.
Eskom acting group CEO Calib Cassim said: “While this is still early progress, it shows a positive trajectory from actions taken to recover Eskom generation plants. This is consistent with Eskom’s target to achieve 70% EAF by 2025,” said Cassim.
Meanwhile, energy experts warned that as electricity demand increased going into winter, the situation would likely worsen and that this one-week improvement may not be the most apt analysis of Eskom’s entire fleet performance.
Monique le Roux, a senior energy researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), said the increase in EAF over the past week was widely welcomed, but it was important to remember that EAF traditionally increased at this time of the year, with an expected decrease in EAF going into the winter months.
Le Roux said: “It is still too early to tell if this increase will translate into a sustained turnaround in plant performance or if this has just been a lucky week for the power utility.”