Wednesday, 20 April 2022 15:15

Eskom 'eases' load shedding to Stage 3 from Wednesday at 22:00.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Power utility Eskom has announced that load shedding will be reduced to stage 3 on Wednesday (20 April) from 22h00.

This comes after six generating units were returned to service over the last 24 hours, and three more are expected to return on Thursday.

"A generation unit each at the Arnot and Kendal power stations returned to service during the day, adding to the two Lethabo units, and one each at Camden and Matla power stations that returned to service during the night. A unit each at the Majuba, Matimba and Arnot power stations are set to return to service by tomorrow. 

"Altogether, this will boost generation capacity and ease the constraints ahead of the weekend, in which we also expect lower demand," Eskom said.

The power utility said that it has 5,787MW on planned maintenance, while another 14,259MW of capacity is unavailable due to unplanned breakdowns.

Load shedding will continue at stage 3 until Friday, the group said, adding that generation capacity is expected to be boosted ahead of the weekend, where lower demand is also anticipated.

"Eskom will continue to adjust the stage of load shedding depending on the level of breakdowns," it said.

In a media briefing on Wednesday morning, Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said that the utility is hopeful that load shedding could be lifted entirely by the start of the weekend – although de Ruyter stressed that there is still uncertainty in the system.

Eskom's updated winter energy forecast indicates that load shedding is likely to continue in the coming months unless it can manage unplanned outages.

In a media briefing on Tuesday, Eskom laid out three scenarios:

  • In the best case, Eskom said that if it can keep unplanned outages below 12,500MW then there will be zero days of load shedding in the coming months.
  • A medium-case scenario would see the country face seven days of load shedding,
  • In an extreme scenario, the country would see 101 days of load shedding.

De Ruyter, has also dismissed any suggestion that the South African power grid is in immediate danger of a total system blackout.

This as the power utility was forced to implement stage four load shedding on Tuesday following significant breakdowns at six generation units at power stations across the country.