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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


Eskom: ‘We are trying to avoid a total system collapse’

Eskom said if load shedding is not implemented, the frequency of supply will deteriorate and that could cause a total blackout.


Eskom CEO André de Ruyter said the ailing parastal is doing its best to avoid a total system collapse by implementing stage 6 load shedding.

The dark lords at Megawatt Park gave an update on the current system challenges on Sunday as the country currently battles exacerbated bouts of load shedding, with the parastatal ramping up the power cuts to stage 6.

Total Blackout

De Ruyer said Eskom is imposing load shedding on South Africans to avoid a total system collapse.

“Load shedding is a managed rotational reduction in the supply of electricity in order ot enable us to maintain the frequency on the grid at 50Hz and that allows us to then to keep the electricity flowing.”

No Electricity Flow

“If we do not implement load shedding, what is likely to happen we will then see the frequency deteriorate to the point where we are unable to operate the grid in a stable fashion and once that happens than of course you have what is known as a total blackout,” De Ruyter said.

He also added that load shedding is a tool that Eskom uses to avoid a total system collapse.

“Isabel Fick and her team, they do an absolutely magnificent job in managing the various stages of load shedding and making sure that we maintain adequate reserves to comply with the requirements of the grid, precisely in order to avoid a total system collapse.”

“So, I don’t think that is an imminent risk. I think this is something that is managed and can be avoided, but of course we do need the support of South Africa in terms of managing our demands, it’s a very important role that everybody in the country can play. But we also need more capacity to be added to the grid as soon as possible,” De Ruyter said.

Sabotage

De Ruyter has refuted claims that sabotage may be responsible for the load shedding that currently has the country in a stranglehold.

He said maintenance teams are working flat out to bring back units as quickly as they can.

“One of the obvious questions to ask and when one thinks about load shedding, particularly stage 6 load shedding, is whether there is any evidence of sabotage. At this stage, I can give you assurance that we have not seen any evidence of untoward activity leading to this spate of trips.”

Stage 6

Eskom piled on the misery by implementing stage 6 load shedding from Sunday morning.

In a tweet, the power utility said another generation unit had failed.

“Following the tripping of a generation unit each at Kusile and Kriel power stations, Stage 6 load shedding was implemented effective 04:16. Eskom appeals to the public to help conserve electricity.”

Eskom Chief Operating Office Jan Oberholzer said stage 6 load shedding will continue.

He said on Monday, Eskom had seven breakdowns totalling 3 000MW. 

“On Tuesday Eskom had to shut down an additional eight generating units totalling 4 000MW. Six units returned to grid.  On Wednesday, five units shit down – total 2 500MW, six returned. Diesel and dam levels were running extremely low. Eskom was using emergency reserves ‘extensively’. 

ALSO READ: Eskom implements stage 6 load shedding

Ramaphosa Must Return

Meanwhile, The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for the immediate return of President Cyril Ramaphosa to South Africa to address what it called “the worsening electricity crisis that is one load shedding stage away from a total grid collapse.”

DA Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Kevin Mileham said Ramaphosa has ignored several of the party’s warnings that his Energy Response Plan had veered off the track due to an ineffective National Electricity Crisis Committee (NECC).

“With Eskom announcing Stage 6 loadshedding due to a system-wide failure of generation units across its generation fleet, Ramaphosa is now duty bound to heed the DA call and declare a ring-fenced State of Disaster around Eskom.”

“Now that it has become clear that sub-contracting the implementation of the Energy Response Plan to his NECC was a bad idea to begin with and little traction has been made, Ramaphosa should now take active control of the implementation process and ensure timely delivery of the plan’s short-term targets to plug the electricity supply gap,” Mileham said.

ALSO READ: Load shedding: This is what stage 8 would look like

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