Eskom have announced on Sunday 17 January that load shedding will be reduced to stage 1 from 23:00 tonight until 5:00 in Monday, but have said that directly thereafter the blackouts will return to the stage 2 schedule due to delays in fixing some of the embattled power supplier’s problematic infrastructure.
In a statement released on Sunday afternoon, Eskom said that their system “remains constrained and vulnerable”, and promised the they will give a further update on the power situation tomorrow afternoon.
“Regrettably, as the return to service of some generation units has been delayed, as well as the need to manage the emergency generation reserves and identified risks to the power system, Stage 2 load shedding will be implemented from 05:00 tomorrow morning,” they said.
“The return to service of two generation units at Kusile power station that were not available last week has been delayed due to difficulties in restarting the units, which are now expected to return to service starting tomorrow.”
Over the past 24-hours, Eskom’s maintenance teams have successfully returned a generation unit each at the Kriel, Grootvlei and Duvha power stations to service, but this has not proved enough to stave off load shedding, which has been prevalent since the country went back to level 3 lockdown as a result of surging COVID-19 infections.
“Despite Eskom’s stringent measures to manage the impact of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic on the operations, we are experiencing some impact on operations, including our suppliers,” they said. “For example at the Medupi power station we have had 48 positive cases out of a pool of 75 contractors, which has negatively affected our ability to executive work as planned.”
Eskom currently have 6 384MW of power unavailable due to planned maintenance, while another 13 181MW of capacity is unavailable due to unplanned maintenance, as well as breakdowns and the outage delays mentioned above.
“Eskom personnel are working hard to return as much of this capacity to service as soon as possible,” they said, also urging the public to reduce electricity consumption in order to help us minimise load shedding.
The University of Cape Town recently released a handy guide to minimise the impact of load shedding on your work day, and now – more than ever – it may be worth a look.