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Eskom does not expect load-shedding to reach stage 8, says De Ruyter

Responding to media queries, Eskom Group CEO Andre de Ruyter said stage 6 load-shedding was expected to remain until past evening peak on Wednesday.

He said there is no need to contemplate load-shedding escalating beyond that.

“We do not anticipate … a risk of load-shedding going past stage 8. I don’t particularly want to elaborate too much on that, but I would like to reassure the country we are doing everything in our power to ensure that we do not have to go beyond that,” said De Ruyter.

De Ruyter said a hypothetical total grid collapse would take 10 to 14 days to resolve, hence load-shedding was necessary to prevent a total blackout.

The probability of a total system blackout remains low thanks to the support of miners through load curtailment and other levers, he said. He said 3,766MW were out on planned maintenance with partial losses at 5,993MW. He added the evening peak of 27,282MW is forecast with a generation capacity shortfall of 5,834MW.

He said the latest constraints were brought on by heavy rains affecting units

“We’ve got three units out at Kusile. Those three units were rendered inoperable due to a build-up of slurry in unit one’s flue. That flue collapsed, that gave rise to units two and unit three’s flues also collapsing and being damaged to the extent that they were inoperable,” said De Ruyter.

De Ruyter said Eskom planned to return Lethabo units four, five and two as well as one unit at Camden, adding that by the end of the day, 3,000MW of capacity should be restored by Monday evening and 6,000MW by the end of the week.

“We do face a very constrained situation. We do appeal to the public to use electricity sparingly, please. If there are any appliances and air conditioning in use that you do not require, please consider switching that off,” he said. Acting head of generation Thomas Conradie said Lethabo, units were forced to shut down due to excessive rain as the Vaal River system, adjacent to the mining pit in the area, faced a real risk of flooding to the pit.

“The latest feedback I have received is that there was another downpour in the area and at the mine itself. There are areas where the coal is not that wet, and we can still extract it. We still have unit 2 at risk at Lethabo,” said Conradie.

GM of Eskom’s operator system, Isabel Fick, said while the entity does not anticipate the energy constraints escalating beyond stage 6, there were contingency plans if load-shedding escalated to stage 8.


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