Picture: Henk Kruger African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Henk Kruger African News Agency (ANA)

Eskom: Power supply stable

By SIVIWE FEKETHA Time of article published Mar 24, 2020

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Johannesburg - Eskom has allayed concerns by households over possible blackouts, as many people are forced to stay home or work from home as part of the measures by the government to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

In line with measures already introduced by the government, several businesses have been ordered to close early, while employers have been encouraged to allow employees to work from home where possible.

This was expected to have a significant effect on the electricity demand from Eskom, which indicates that its power generation systems remain vulnerable.

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha, however, said the utility had not yet noticed any significant change in demand, and that it was trying its best to ensure that power cuts were minimised where they could not be avoided.

“The demand has not changed. We are still averaging just under 3000MW. There have been no demonstrable changes so far. What is noticeable is that our unplanned outages are hovering between 11500MW and 10200MW,” Mantshantsha said.

He said this was an improvement from the December period when Eskom had been plunged into a crisis, with the outages averaging around 15000MW.

Energy expert Mike Rossouw said the embattled power utility was set to experience a decrease in demand as fewer businesses would be utilising as much power as they did before the Covid-19 outbreak, which has seen the government declare a state of national disaster.

He indicated that consumers had less reason to worry about Eskom’s capacity to supply power during the crisis of the pandemic, as its capacity would be eased by less demand.

“During this period Eskom’s demand is declining because of the measures that have been put in place, and they have all the capacity now. The demand is declining due to the fact that Covid-19 has impacted on the demand from businesses, and that releases some pressure on Eskom,” Rossouw said.

Eskom on Sunday said that no load shedding was expected throughout the week, although it could not be entirely ruled out as its power generation system remained vulnerable.

“We are currently utilising minimal emergency generation reserves to supplement supply. We remind the public, however, that Eskom may have to implement load shedding at short notice should the system performance deteriorate,” Eskom said.

The utility has urged consumers to use electricity sparingly to reduce demand. “Eskom invites all stakeholders to partner with us, through co-operation and responsible management of electricity consumption so that we may soon emerge from these difficult times of supply constraints,” it said.

Political Bureau

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