Be ready for more power cuts this week, says Eskom

Be ready for more power cuts this week, says Eskom

Eskom said you should anticipate more power cuts this week as the increase in electricity demand is overwhelming its system, especially during peak hours.

The embattled power utility implemented stage 2 load shedding Monday evening after its generation units tripped.

“At the same time, a unit each at Hendrina and Kendal power station returned to service that is not enough though to stave off the implementation of load shedding during the evening peak. The return of a generation each at Kusile, Matimba, and Lethabo power stations as well at two at Hendrina and three at Tutuka have been delayed which have really increased the evening peak constraints” said spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha.

Eskom is setting a record pace for outages and diesel use in May

A third of the way into May, Eskom is setting a record-breaking pace for breakdowns and the use of its expensive diesel backup generators.

And, if Eskom’s worries about the rest of this week turn out to be well-founded, then it will be on track for a load shedding record too.

Thanks to suddenly re-instituted load shedding on Monday afternoon, electricity rationing has now been used for all but three days this month. And those were two Sundays and a public holiday.

For all but one day, load shedding was at Stage 2.

Load shedding now hits, on average, every 2.3 days.

On Monday, Eskom warned about its ability to keep the lights on every day this week during the evening peak hours.

Eskom’s data shows that its planned maintenance outages are lower as South Africa slides into winter, as per usual, but are higher than this time last year.

Unplanned outages, though, are still climbing, now at an unplanned capability loss factor (UCLF) approaching 29.8% so far in May, up from 29.4% in April – and from a recent low of 20.5% in August.

Even with load shedding in place, Eskom is burning through diesel at its open-cycled gas turbine (OCGT) plants, intended to provide short bursts of power at key times.

The backup plants ran for almost the entire evening peak period all of last week, right through to 22:00.

Eskom has previously expressed concerns about the impact of Russia’s war on Ukraine, and what higher oil prices would mean for its finances as it relies on diesel generators. It has also warned that it is only physically possible to get a limited amount of fuel to those generators, so even if it does not run out of money to keep them going, there is only so much generating they can do.

The company’s previous worst-case scenario for winter had been load shedding for a little under half of every month, on average.

Its extreme worst-case scenario has now pushed that to an average of up to 20 days per month.


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