File picture: African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Eskom to implement Stage 4 load shedding from noon today

By Logan Marshall Time of article published Oct 27, 2021

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Cape Town – Due to a further shortage of generation capacity, Eskom announced today that Stage 4 load shedding will be implemented from noon until 5am tomorrow.

Thereafter, Stage 2 load shedding will be implemented until 5am on Saturday. Eskom said the implementation of Stage 4 load shedding is ’’no cause for alarm as the power system remains to be effectively controlled’’.

Early yesterday morning, Eskom announced that Stage 2 load shedding will be implemented from 9am on Tuesday until 5am on Saturday.

’’Over the past 24 hours, a unit each at Medupi, Kusile and Matla power stations tripped, while a unit each at Lethabo and Arnot power stations were forced to shut down,’’ the power utility said in a statement on Wednesday.

’’This constrained the power system further, requiring extensive use of emergency reserves and therefore hampering the recovery of these reserves.

’’Some generating units have returned to service and we anticipate another two units to return to service during the day.

’’In addition, Koeberg Unit 1 is expected to return to service today and begin ramping up to full output within 48 hours.’’

The total breakdowns currently amount to 14 957 MW, while planned maintenance is 5 301 MW of capacity.

’’We remind customers that load shedding is implemented as a last resort to maintain the stability of the power system regardless of the stage of load shedding.

’’The implementation of Stage 4 load shedding is therefore no cause for alarm as the power system remains to be effectively controlled.

’’Eskom would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused by the implementation of load shedding, and requests the public to reduce the usage of electricity in order to help us through the constraints.

’’Eskom will communicate promptly should there be any significant changes to the power system.’’

Following the news, the City of Cape Town said its customers will only move to Stage 3 on Wednesday. Stage 3 will come into effect from 2pm until 10pm on Wednesday.

Eskom’s energy available factor (EAF) has declined to 65.3 percent this financial year against a target of 70 percent, and down from the average of 67.9 percent achieved last year, Business Report reported yesterday

Eskom group executive for generation Phillip Dukashe said a key contributor to the low EAF was high levels of planned maintenance over the summer months.

Dukashe said the recent high levels of unplanned outages was a concern, but Eskom would continue to drive its reliability maintenance recovery programme.

“Generation plant performance is still unreliable and unpredictable, but improvement initiatives are being driven hard to get to acceptable levels,” Dukashe said.

“We need to ensure system stability and to meet demand a minimum 4 000MW of additional generating capacity is critical.

“This will ensure the space for generation to continue with the planned reliability maintenance and refurbishment programme, and that the operational recovery is timeously funded and resourced to enable maximum readiness to execute successfully.”

Eskom chief operations officer Jan Oberholzer conceded that load shedding had a damaging effect on the economy.

“We are aware that the increased maintenance does elevate the probability of load shedding in the short term, but this is necessary to improve the future performance of the generation fleet,” Oberholzer said.

“Our objective is to achieve a reliable and sustainable generation plant, thereby reducing the risk and frequency of the occurrence of load shedding.’’

EFF leader Julius Malema said on Tuesday the reintroduction of load shedding at the weekend is all part of a well-orchestrated scheme by the ANC to steal votes from smaller parties during Monday’s municipal elections, News24 reported.

The ANC disputed this, calling the allegations a ’’blue lie of the highest order’’, after Malema said officials would remove the ballot boxes when the lights go off, and replace them with boxes containing fraudulent votes.

Dismissing Malema’s claims, Eskom spokesperson Sikhonathi Mantshantsa said the power utility was doing everything it could to avoid load shedding on the day.

’’Eskom is not aware of such a plan (voter theft) and definitely is not part of any such plan,’’ Mantshantsa said.

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