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Eskom increases load-shedding until further notice

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    Nat Quinn

    Eskom has announced that it implemented stage 4 load-shedding at 05:26 on Friday morning due to breakdowns and a lack of emergency reserves.

    The state-owned power utility will continue implementing power cuts at stage 4 until further notice.

    “Breakdowns amounting to 17,056MW of generation capacity, low pumped storage dam levels, and lack of diesel are the reasons for the increase in load-shedding,” it stated.

    On Tuesday, Eskom chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer told journalists that the utility had been able to refill its dams and could reduce peak-time load-shedding from stage 3 to stage 2.

    “We have had sufficient time now to refill our dams. [They are] not 100% full, but we recovered quite a lot in terms of filling the upper dams of the pumped storage [schemes], and we didn’t use any diesel,” he said.

    However, stage 3 load-shedding resumed on Wednesday from 16:00 until 05:00 on Thursday.

    Eskom then said it would continue to run an alternating cycle of stage 2 and stage 3 power cuts until further notice.

    This has escalated to stage 4 at short notice due to a lack of emergency generation reserves.

    During its State of the System briefing on Tuesday, Eskom warned that South Africans should expect prolonged load-shedding over the next six to 12 months as it undertakes major capital projects and repairs.

    Eskom said the projects and repairs would remove over 2,300MW of generating capacity from the system — enough for more than two stages of load-shedding.

    High breakdown levels also caused Eskom to rely heavily on pumped storage schemes and diesel-burning open-cycle gas turbines.

    Leaked photo of the damage to Kusile’s flue-gas duct

    Eskom said the collapse of the flue-gas duct leading out of Kusile power station’s Unit 1 had dealt a severe blow to the utility’s efforts to improve the generation capacity.

    The collapse has not only meant Unit 1 needed to be shut down. Eskom has delayed the return to service of Unit 2 and Unit 3 as a precaution.

    Unit 4 is the only one currently on load at Kusile, Eskom said.

    Oberholzer said Eskom’s current estimates showed it would take no less than six months to fix Kusile’s flue-gas duct.

    Eskom increases load-shedding until further notice (mybroadband.co.za)

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