Molefe Seeletsa
Digital Journalist
3 minute read
12 Nov 2021
12:15 pm

Load shedding: No power cuts this weekend and supply outlook good for next week

Molefe Seeletsa

'We don’t see any prospect for load shedding over the weekend,' says Eskom CEO André de Ruyter.

Eskom has accused Nersa of misrepresentation. Picture: Michel Bega

Eskom says though power cuts will not be implemented over the weekend, a number of units remain at high risk of tripping.

Prognosis

Giving an update on Eskom’s operations, the power utility’s CEO André de Ruyter said there was no prospect of load shedding during the weekend.

“At this point and time, the outlook for the weekend is good. We don’t see any prospect for load shedding over the weekend.

“Of course, we will apprise you of what is happening as soon as the situation changes. We will continue with system updates whenever there is a need for us to inform the South African public proactively of what is going on,” he said.

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On whether power cuts could occur next week, De Ruyter said the prognosis was good for next week in terms of preventing load shedding.

“We have a number of units coming back as planned, but of course some challenges do remain. These are complex and very large units [which] are difficult to operate.

“We spoke a lot about various constraints we have in terms of procurement and so forth, but we will take appropriate steps so we can relieve that. So the outlook for next week is quite positive,” he said.

Load shedding in summer

The Eskom CEO further explained why power cuts were more prevalent in summer.

“Firstly, we schedule more maintenance during the summer months precisely in order to make available additional capacity during winter when demand is higher.

“Secondly, the profile of demand during winters is significantly different. We have a very pronounced evening peak, which is quite short whereas in the summer you find that there is a sustained high off-take on the demand on the system.

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“And that results in the units having to run harder for longer given the lack of reliability of our system that intends to expose some of our units to more challenges than they would otherwise have faced,” he said.

He went on to say: “The final issues, of course, relates to the ambient temperatures being higher and that leads to our cooling water systems, which as we explained in the previous briefing, have not been adequately maintained.

“That then leads to vacuum load losses on our turbines and that constrains our ability to produce as much electricity from those units as we would like to.”

Three-division split 

De Ruyter also said Eskom was on track to meet its target of the legal separation of a transmission entity from the power utility by 31 December.

“The issues that are still outstanding relate to the granting of a transmission licence to the new entity. These licences have to be granted by Nersa [National Energy Regulator of South Africa]. So there is a certain regulatory process that needs to be followed,” he added.

In June, President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed that government had begun the process of restructuring Eskom into three different SOEs, whereby each of them would be responsible for generation, transmission and distribution.

The separation of the generation and distribution divisions is expected to be completed by December 2022.