Load shedding a possibility this weekend

Eskom has warned that although load shedding has been suspended, the risk of its return remains high over the weekend.

Load shedding Stage 2 was implemented on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week after the power utility’s power stations suffered several challenges.

Eskom has now warned that the constrained energy system coupled with other factors could lead to load shedding at short notice.

“This is due to a shortage of generation capacity [and] the cold front expected during the weekend is also anticipated to result in increased demand for electricity, adding to the capacity constraints. We therefore urge all South Africans to continue using electricity sparingly. Eskom will promptly communicate should there be any significant changes,” Eskom said on Friday.

The power utility explained that it is currently battling unplanned outages of some 14 574MW of energy after breakdowns at several power stations with a further 4526MW on planned maintenance outages.

“Unit 2 of the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station was safely shutdown in accordance with operating procedures this morning. During routine testing of the control rod mechanism on the unit, one of the control rods developed a mechanical problem. In order to rectify this, the unit has been safely shut down.

“It has not yet been determined how long the repairs will take but it could be up to five days where after the unit will ramp up over three days. During this period, the probability of load shedding is increased.

“The breakdown of two units at Hendrina Power Station and the delay in returning a generating unit each at Kendal, Komati, Kusile and Tutuka power stations during the last 24 hours have put a severe strain on the power generation system,” Eskom said.

Meanwhile, the power utility has returned to service a generating unit each at two power stations with a further eight expected to return by Monday evening.

Source: South African Government