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Sunday, 19 November 2023 10:18

Load shedding pushed to Stage 3 until Monday morning.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Eskom has announced that Stage 3 load shedding will continue until Monday morning, in order to replenish emergency reserves in preparation for the week ahead.

Thus, stage 3 will be implemented from 09:00 today until 05:00 on Monday, 20 November. The schedule for today initially had a rotation between stages 1 and 2.

The embattled power utility said that it will communicate the outlook for the week ahead this afternoon.

The news comes amid a rare win for the utility after it announced that Unit 1 at South Africa's only nuclear power station – Koeberg – has been successfully reconnected to the grid.

The replacement of three steam generators at the unit faced several delays, pushing its completion date from June to November 2023.

The unit's return adds just under 1,000 MW to the grid – or one stage of load shedding.

"This milestone is a result of the hard work and determination of the Eskom employees, suppliers, and contractors who have had to endure a long and challenging outage in the Koeberg Power Station's history, 'says Eskom's Group Executive for Generation, Bheki Nxumalo. "I commend everyone involved in the project for ensuring that the unit was returned to service safely."

Once Unit 1 is considered stable, Unit 2 will be taken offline to have its steam generators replaced.

"Although (the) Unit 2 outage will be similar in terms of the scope, the lessons learnt from Unit 1 outage will enable the duration to be reduced, however as was the case during the Unit 1 outage, nuclear safety will not be compromised, "Nxumalo said.

During the project, Eskom and French nuclear contractor Framatome have clashed repeatedly, with Framatome having lodged around 200 claims for delays, running into billions.

When the steam generator project is completed, Eskom intends to conduct pressure tests on the buildings, requiring another 200-day outage for each unit.

It is hoped that Unit 2 will be online with new steam generators by July 2024. Unit 1 will then be taken offline for the 200-day pressure test, followed by Unit 2.