Massive load shedding in South Africa as Eskom loses 9500MW of power due to breakdown

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Following the breakdown of some power generation units over the weekend, the electricity system will remain “severely constrained” until at least Thursday, Eskom said on Monday night.

“The unexpected loss of additional units may result in load shedding at short notice. The system remains vulnerable to a number of variables due to historic factors such as inadequate maintenance as well as ageing of plants.”

The electricity system is severely constrained yesterday and will remain so until at least Thursday. But load shedding is not expected.

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The unplanned breakdowns over the weekend took more than 9 500MW of power out of the system, which means that Eskom is relying on emergency power generation: open cycle gas turbines and pumped storage hydro electrical plants.

These are very expensive ways of generating power, particularly the gas turbines as they require large quantities of diesel.

Last month, South Africans suffered five days of load shedding after outages at five units. Eskom also resorted to emergency power generation, but then its diesel stocks started running low, which forced it to shed power..

“The system remains vulnerable to a number of variables due to historic factors such as inadequate maintenance as well as ageing of plant,” Eskom warned in a statement.

At a media briefing last week, Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan unveiled government’s highly anticipated Special Paper on Eskom.

The minister detailed how the unbundling of Eskom will work and tried to manage the nation’s expectations on how long it will take to fix the struggling energy utility.

“There is a belief among South Africans that fixing Eskom is like changing a tyre in a car or replacing a bolt in a boiler. We see the fixing of Eskom as a long protracted process,” he said.

Eskom is expected to announce its new CEO in the coming week.

– Fin24


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