Load-shedding back at Stage 2 on Friday - but plans to reduce impact on matric exams

18 October 2019 - 08:05 By Iavan Pijoos
Problems at Medupi have led to a return to stage 2 load-shedding.
Problems at Medupi have led to a return to stage 2 load-shedding.
Image: Eskom

A “loss of additional power” at Medupi stemming from coal and ash issues has led to the imposition of forced power cuts at stage 2 for most of Friday, instead of the hoped-for stage 1.

To accommodate matric exams, the outage will be kept at stage 1 from 9am to 12 midday before escalating to stage 2 until 11pm, Eskom said in a statement.

The announcement came only hours after Eskom's CEO Jabu Mabuza told a Thursday night news conference that the decision to implement load-shedding “was not one that we took lightly”.

He said they were disappointed when they were left with no option but to cut off the power supply after having experienced a high level of consumption over the weekend, which was accompanied by a high level of breakdowns.

On Friday, Eskom said: “Since the media briefing last night, we have had a major setback as we have lost additional capacity from Medupi power station.”

“As articulated, our prognosis was based on the state of the system and availability as at 17:00. Late last night, we lost Medupi 3, 4 and 5 due to coal and ash handling issues.

“This is in addition to the conveyor belt that failed on Saturday 12 October at the power station.

“This means that the power system has deteriorated further, creating an additional shortage of generation capacity of about 1,500MW.

“As a result we will regrettably maintain Stage 2 load-shedding for the greater part of today.

“We understand the negative impact this will have on our customers, in particular our matriculants who are writing exams this morning. In order to lessen the disruption on exams, [we] will be implementing Stage 1 load-shedding from 9:00 until 12:00 midday and thereafter revert to Stage 2 load-shedding until 23:00.

“We apologise unreservedly to our customers and South Africans for the short notification. We will keep South Africans informed about the status and our recovery efforts throughout this period.”

Eskom spokesperson Dikatso Mothae said Stage 1 requires the least amount of load-shedding - three times over a four-day period, for two hours at a time compared with stage 2 load-shedding which doubles the frequency of cuts, meaning there is no power six times over four days, for two hours at a time.

“We have already told them [department of education] that there would be Stage 1, so they already planned around Stage 1 load-shedding.”