Here's why Eskom is loadshedding

16 October 2019 - 09:29 By Iavan Pijoos
Loadshedding returned to South Africa on October 16, 2019
Loadshedding returned to South Africa on October 16, 2019
Image: Alan Eason

Eskom on Wednesday explained why it is implementing stage two loadshedding - which entails dropping 2,000MW from the grid through rotational outages nationwide to prevent it from tripping.

The utility, which supplies 95% of the country's energy needs, said in a statement the electricity system has been severely constrained this week.

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“As a result of the loss of additional generation, delays in the return to service of units that are on planned maintenance and limited diesel supply, it has become necessary to implement stage two rotational loadshedding from 09am until 23:00 in order to protect the power system from total collapse,” the power utility said.

According to the power utility, they had warned at a briefing in September that to avoid loadshedding, unplanned breakdowns needed to be continued below 9,500MW.

Eskom said generator breakdowns were experienced beyond 10,500MW and there would be usage of emergency resources which may lead to loadshedding if supply constraints continued for a long duration.

“The supply constraints are caused by, among others, five generating units that are unavailable due to boiler tube leaks.”

Eskom said the conveyor belt supplying Medupi power station with coal had failed on Saturday, which resulted in low volumes of coal being supplied to the station.

“Due to the shortage of generating capacity from coal-fired generation, the pumped storage OCGT (Open-cycle gas turbine) generators have been used extensively since Saturday, which has led to a decline in the dam levels and diesel tank levels.”