Stage 6 load shedding to stay as Eskom works on fixing units after boiler tube leaks
Unplanned outages stand at 17 798 megawatts of generating capacity, according to Eskom.
A general view of Tutuka Power Station on 18 November 2021 in Standerton. Picture: Gallo Images/Rapport/Deon Raath
Eskom has announced that Stage 6 load shedding will remain in place schedule until further notice as the utility battles to bring back generating units at its power stations online.
In a brief statement, Eskom said it has faced setbacks as a result of at least 10 generating units being offline since last Thursday.
“A total of five generating units (50%) were taken out of service due to boiler tube leaks. This resulted in insufficient generation capacity,” Eskom said on Saturday.
The power utility said the delay in returning three units from planned maintenance also contributed to “inadequate generation capacity and increased reliance on emergency reserves.”
“The need to replenish the emergency reserves and inadequate generation capacity necessitated the implementation of Stage 6 load shedding until further notice.
“An update on the power system’s status will be provided on Sunday afternoon,” the statement further reads.
Currently, unplanned outages stand at 17 798 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity, according to Eskom.
Additionally, the capacity out of service for planned maintenance stood at 6 653 MW.
“Eskom power station general managers and their teams have since returned a total of three generating units and continue to work diligently to ensure that an additional 2400 MW of generating capacity is returned to service by Monday morning. Eskom’s evening peak demand tonight is 25 087 MW.”
The power utility further thanked households who use electricity sparingly and efficiently, including switching off geysers and pool pumps between 5pm and 9pm.
“This lowers demand and helps in alleviating the pressure on the power system and contributes to lower stages of load shedding.”
‘End of load shedding’
The escalation of load shedding comes just days after President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the State of the Nation Address (Sona) held in Cape Town.
Ramaphosa, in his speech, assured South Africans that the government had a clear plan to end load shedding.
“We set out a clear plan to end load shedding, which we have been implementing with a single-minded focus through the national energy crisis committee.
“We have delivered on our commitments to bring substantial new power through private investment on to the grid, which is already helping to reduce load shedding,” he said.
He stressed that the “worst” of the energy crisis was “behind us”.
“The end of load shedding is finally within reach,” the president told the nation.
Electricity Minister Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa is expected to hold a media briefing on Sunday, in light of the higher stages of load shedding.