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By Citizen Reporter


Stage 6 load shedding: Here’s how we got here

South Africans woke up on Sunday morning with stage six load shedding being announced, as the country faces its worse year of load shedding ever.

South Africa has been suffering the effects of rolling blackouts since 2008, but the current year has been the worst on record for load shedding, after having seen more than 100 days of power cuts.

The country’s economy has suffered massively from the ongoing power cuts and the financial uncertainty they bring.

On Sunday morning things became decidedly worse, with stage six load shedding being announced, after trips at Kusile and Kriel power stations, while the country was already experiencing stage five power cuts.

During stage six, 6000 MW is dropped from the national energy grid, and in a briefing on Sunday morning, Eskom CEO André de Ruyter warned that things could get even worse.

Also Read: Load shedding stages explained: Here’s what you need to know

Here is a timeline of what led us to the current situation:

Sunday, 4 September:

Koeberg unit 2 trips from full power during a routine testing of the control rod, cutting 920MW from the grid.

Saturday, 10 September:

Due to additional breakdowns overnight, Eskom was unable to replenish emergency generation reserves, which has worsened the current generation capacity constraints. Stage 4 loadshedding was implemented from 10am to replenish the emergency reserves.

A generation unit at Kendal was forced offline for emergency repairs while a unit each at Majuba, Lethabo and Camden power stations, as well as Hydro de Cahorra Bassa in Mozambique, were shut down for critical planned maintenance in preparation for the week ahead.

Sunday, 11 September:

A generation unit each at Tutuka Power Station and at Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme were forced offline for emergency repairs overnight.

Monday, 12 September:

Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer states 42 units tripped in the past week.

Tuesday, 14 September:

Due to the sudden loss of three units, Kendal Power Station was increased to Stage 4. A conveyor belt feeding coal into Kendal Power Station failed. To conserve coal, the power output of the generators was reduced, but this required fuel oil to be used to sustain the boiler combustion.

Subsequently, the fuel oil plant supplying the units experienced a failure and shut down. This resulted in the trip of the three generating units.

Wednesday, 14 September:

Further breakdowns of a generation unit each at Kendal and Majuba due to boiler tube leaks.

Friday, 16 September:

Breakdowns of a generating unit each at Kriel, Majuba and Tutuka power stations, leading to the continuation of loadshedding at Stage 4 at 1.30pm. Load shedding is extended to replenish diesel supplies to its generators.

Saturday, 17 September:

Eskom loses five generating units overnight and moves to Stage 5 from 10am.

Sunday, 18 September:

Following the tripping of a generation unit each at Kusile and Kriel Stage 6 loadshedding was implemented effective at 4:16 am.

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

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Andre de Ruyter Eskom

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