Eskom announces Stage 3 load shedding - Saturday

Load shedding

Here are five things that helped Eskom to slow-down load shedding

Eskom recently announced that there will be no load shedding during the day until further notice, here is what happened.

Eskom announces Stage 3 load shedding - Saturday

Load shedding

Eskom recently announced that there will be no load shedding during the day until further notice, the power has resorted to some measures for this to be possible.

ALSO READ: Eskom spends R8 billion of diesel on load shedding in two months

Eskom easing load shedding schedule during the day

The recent and unexpected shift from Stage 6 load shedding to Stage 3, potentially even lower, was arguably always unpredicted during the winter season.

Just weeks ago, the country was on edge, experiencing Stage 8 – or worse – load shedding during the winter months. As much as this has not come to pass, there is some relief.

ALSO READ: South Africa warned of food security issues that may lead to riots

It still remains a debatable fact that Eskom’s coal generation fleet performs far better in winter than in summer.

Eskom scheduled load shedding from a peak of Stage 6 just one week ago to a peak of Stage 3.

ALSO READ: Here’s why some petrol stations can’t stay open 24/7 anymore

Here is what contributed to the eased load shedding schedule

The reason for Eskom to schedule load shedding for overnight until the end of the morning peak is due to the large differential between the daytime power usage demand and the peak. In winter, this is extreme, in summer the curve is far flatter.

Here is the difference in what was expected and what the current reality is comes from:

  • Wind generation has kicked in, given winter cold fronts heading into the Western and Eastern Cape. From Friday evening, wind generation has produced – relatively consistently – 2GW (or 2000MW) of power. This translated into the reprieves from load shedding over the past weekend.
  • With one Koeberg unit offline until September (originally June), the 2000MW of wind power in coastal regions equates to somewhere around 2200MW to 2400MW of power, because of the losses on high voltage lines from Mpumalanga (or further, such as Mozambique). This means that having such strong wind generation during a period in which 900MW is offline has a larger impact than ordinarily.
  • According to Eskom, only 2407MW is currently offline due to planned maintenance. Given the constraints on Eskom’s maintenance budget going forward, this may be a realistic amount of maintenance that can be done in winter months. What must also be noted is that plants scheduled to be shut down are receiving little to no attention.
  • Open cycle gas turbines (OCGTs) are being used – a lot. Current spend is estimated at about R3 billion a month, as per Eskom data.
  • Eskom’s final boost has come from the most unexpected quarter: breakdowns are lower than expected. At 16056MW as of Tuesday afternoon.
Eskom spend R8 billion on diesel in two months to keep lights on during load shedding. Image: Twitter/@EskomZA

ALSO READ: LIST: Here is a list of cars currently manufactured in South Africa

According to recent Eskom data for June, it points to a much-improved generation performance.

The energy availability factor (EAF), measures how much generation capacity is online, is above 60% – for the first time since August last year.

ASLO READ: Technical experts and former Eskom employees to help combat load shedding