Eskom CEO André de Ruyter on Friday briefed the nation on the power utility’s current system challenges, issuing a grave warning about the possibility of Stage 6 load shedding.
De Ruyter explained the current round of load shedding is as a result of a deliberate act of sabotage, and said it could have been much worse.
Eskom’s system challenges
Sabotage has been confirmed at the Lethabo Power Station in Free State – lines supplying electricity to the station’s coal conveyor were cut and the Hawks will investigate.
“There is malice afoot and we need to take action. This is not only a challenge for Eskom. State security agencies and law enforcement have a role to play as well.”
De Ruyter said he couldn’t speculate as to whether the acts of sabotage are being carried out in an attempt to discredit him and his team, in order make it hard for them to solve Eskom’s challenges.
He also didn’t want to speculate as to what could trigger a total blackout, as this could give perpetrators of these crimes added motivation to continue their criminal activities.
Stage 6 a possibility
While load shedding isn’t on the cards for next week – depending on the state of the grid – de Ruyter warned that if sabotage continues, stage 6 is a definite possibility.
While a total blackout is virtually impossible, concerns were raised by members of the media that sabotage may escalate the matter.
De Ruyter said mechanisms are in place to avoid a total blackout, with load shedding being the primary mechanism.
However, he said Eskom “could only lose so much capacity, that’s why there is a need for security agencies to assist Eskom in protecting assets of national importance.”
Current load shedding schedule
A total breakdown of the system is as follows:
- Planned losses: 3,345MW
- Partial load loss: 4,796MW
- Full load loss: 9,756
- Unplanned: 14,776MW
De Ruyter confirmed that load shedding will be suspended at 9pm on Friday.l At the time of publishing, load shedding won’t be implemented over the weekend.
Eskom suspended Stage 2 load shedding from 9pm on Thursday, and implemented Stage 1 from 05:00 to 21:00 on Friday.
While Eskom teams successfully returned eight generating units to service, diesel tank levels at three of the four OCGT power stations remain low.
A unit each at Camden, Komati, Majuba, Tutuka, Matla and Medupi power stations as well as two units at Matimba Power Station were returned to service.
One generating unit at Duvha Power Station was taken out of service for boiler tube leak repairs.