Load Shedding South Africa: Eskom, the South African power utility, is temporarily reducing load shedding to stage 1 this weekend due to lower expected demand. However, the fleet remains under pressure, and the situation can change at short notice.
Load Shedding South Africa: Eskom Plans to Briefly Suspend Load Shedding for the Weekend
Power utility Eskom has announced its plans to briefly suspend load shedding this weekend, reducing it to stage 1 from 05h00 on Saturday until 16h00. This will be followed by an increase to stage 2 until 05h00 on Sunday, when load shedding will be suspended until 16h00. Stage 1 load shedding will then be implemented from 16h00 on Sunday until 16h00 on Monday, with stage 2 in force from 16h00 on Monday until 05h00 on Tuesday. Load shedding will then be suspended from 05h00 on Tuesday until 16h00, and thereafter stage 2 will be implemented until further notice.
The schedule for load shedding is as follows:
Friday, 17 March
Stage 2: until 00h00
Saturday, 18 March
Stage 2: 00h00 to 05h00 Stage 1: 05h00 to 16h00 Stage 2: 16h00 to 00h00
Sunday, 19 March
Stage 2: 00h00 to 05h00 Suspended: 05h00 to 16h00 Stage 1: 16h00 to 00h00
Monday, 20 March
Stage 1: 00h00 to 16h00 Stage 2: 16h00 to 00h00
Tuesday, 21 March
Stage 2: 00h00 to 05h00 Suspended: 05h00 to 16h00 Stage 2: 16h00 to 00h00
According to Eskom, the lower expected weekend demand has allowed it to reduce the required stages of load shedding and suspend where possible. However, breakdowns are currently at 14,256MW of generating capacity while 4,765MW of generating capacity is out of service for planned maintenance. During the last 24 hours, a generating unit each at Camden and two units at Hendrina power stations were taken offline for repairs.
The easing of load shedding comes after the group’s power stations showed slow but notable improvements over the past week. The group reduced load shedding to stage 3 on Wednesday after a sizeable stint at higher stages. At the start of the week, load shedding alternated between stage 3 during the day and stage 4 in the evenings.
Eskom reported on Thursday that six of its coal-fired power stations achieved an energy availability factor of 70% this week – a milestone last achieved in May 2022. The group said that three of these power stations, Camden, Duvha, and Matla, have been on a sustained upward trend as a result of a reduction of plant breakdowns and the return to service of a number of units that were on unplanned breakdowns. Eskom said that Lethabo, Matimba, and Medupi have also been showcasing positive performance.
Mpho Makwana, the Board chairperson, said the improved performance is rooted in the company’s ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach, adding that it will continue to improve the national energy availability. Despite lower stages of load shedding for the weekend ahead, Eskom’s fleet remains under pressure, and its systems are constrained and unpredictable. The situation can change at short notice.
South Africa has experienced near-permanent load shedding since September 2022, with the country having 138 consecutive days of blackouts since October 2022 – including every single day of 2023 so far.
This milestone is a welcome development for Eskom as it seeks to improve its power generation capacity and stabilize the country’s electricity supply. The company has been under immense pressure to address the ongoing load shedding crisis that has severely impacted households, businesses, and the economy as a whole.
Despite the progress made, Eskom is still faced with significant challenges, including aging infrastructure, maintenance backlogs, and financial constraints. The company has been implementing a turnaround strategy aimed at addressing these issues and ensuring the sustainability of its operations.
As South Africans brace themselves for another weekend of load shedding, Eskom has urged customers to continue to use electricity sparingly and switch off all non-essential appliances to reduce the demand on the grid. The company has also assured customers that it will continue to provide regular updates on the status of the power system.
In conclusion, while the reduced load shedding is a positive development, it is essential for Eskom to sustain these improvements and continue to invest in its infrastructure to ensure a reliable and stable electricity supply. It is also crucial for South Africans to play their part in reducing electricity demand and using energy efficiently to help alleviate the pressure on the national grid.
FIND JOBS HERE