Eskom has no plans for load-shedding but ‘risks remain high’

No load-shedding is currently expected during the warmer months of summer, but the risk remains high as the system is still “tight and vulnerable”.

“While demand in summer is generally lower than in winter, the summer period comes with its own challenges. The change in customer electricity consumption in summer means sustained demand throughout the day and not just over the evening peak as people use air-conditioning for cooling,” said Eskom COO, Jan Oberholzer.

He added that the facility also ramped up planned maintenance over the summer period, taking advantage of the overall reduced demand in electricity.

“Our objective over the next seven months is to avoid load-shedding while we conduct an average of 5 500 MW planned maintenance and work hard at keeping unplanned breakdowns below 9 500 MW.

“Diesel, pumped-storage and demand response options which includes Eskom requesting big industry to switch off when demand peaks, will be used to supplement any shortfall in capacity,” said Oberholzer.

Eskom has not implemented load-shedding since 23 March 2019 partly due to the successful implementation of the 9-point generation recovery plan that saw energy availability increasing from 67.7 in April 2019 to 70.39 at the end of August 2019.

Generation unit breakdowns were maintained at an average 9 500 MW as planned and three non-commercial units from Medupi and Kusile Power Stations delivered an average production of 1300 MW during commissioning phase.

The Cahora Bassa (Apollo HVDC line 2) was successfully recovered, connecting the full complement of 1 200 MW of imported energy from Mozambique to the grid. Kriel Unit 2 (475 MW) and Matla Unit 5 (575 MW).

Acting group CEO, Jabu Mabuza added that Eskom had also made “notable strides” in addressing coal stock challenges. Prior to the announcement of the winter plan, 10 of 15 coal-fired power stations were below the prescribed 20 coal stock days as per the Grid Code requirement.

“Today, coal stock levels have improved to 49,5 days, excluding Medupi and Kusile. Only one power station (Kriel) remains below the Grid Code requirement. No coal-related risks are expected throughout the summer months,” he said.

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