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Compiled by Chulumanco Mahamba

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Eskom implements stage 1 and 2 load shedding due to ‘setback’

Eskom's announcement of stage 1 and 2 load shedding comes in the wake of a load shedding-free festive season.

Power utility Eskom has announced that stage 1 and stage 2 load shedding will be implemented from Tuesday afternoon until further notice due to a “setback”.

During December, South Africans experienced a relatively load shedding-free festive season due to improved generating capacity and emergency reserves, and on Sunday, the power utility extended the suspension of rolling blackouts until further notice.

However, Eskom announced that stage 2 load shedding would be put into place starting at 4pm on Tuesday due to a setback encountered in getting two generating units to service and the loss of three generating units. Stage 1 load shedding will be implemented, thereafter, from 5am until 4pm on Wednesday.

The power utility said the pattern of stage 1 load shedding from 5am to 4pm and stage 2 from 4pm to 5am will continue until further notice.

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“Eskom will closely monitor the power system and communicate any changes should it be required,” Eskom said in a statement.

Unplanned outages

According to the power utility, unplanned outages are currently at 14 953MW of generating capacity, and the capacity out of service for planned maintenance is 7 638MW.

“Eskom power station managers and their teams are working tirelessly to ensure that 2 700MW of generating capacity is returned to service before the end of the week,” Eskom said.

“Eskom’s load forecast for the evening peak demand for Tuesday is 24 977MW.”

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No guarantee of load shedding-free future

Earlier on Tuesday, Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said he could not assure South Africans that minimal load shedding will persist indefinitely.

Ramokgopa highlighted the unreliability of some generating units.

“We do accept that the majority of these units still remain unreliable; we are addressing the planned maintenance. The key measure there is that when the units come back from planned maintenance, we should not have repeat failures. This is what the generation team managed to do,” said Ramokgopa.

“The units went out, and we were forced to implement load shedding again. We’re getting through that recovery, and we’re experiencing a period of no load shedding again. We will have this period of days of no load shedding, and then there will be days of load shedding.

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“The system still remains unreliable; we’re working on these units. I can’t stand here and tell the country that there will be no load shedding going into the future. That’s why when the alert goes out, it says until further notice. We have no control over some of these units; they are extremely unreliable.”

Additional reporting by Vhahangwele Nemakonde

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