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Stage 6 load-shedding to stay until 11pm - but it's 'no cause for alarm'

09 December 2019 - 17:57 By Matthew Savides
Eskom will implement stage 6 load-shedding on Monday evening.
Eskom will implement stage 6 load-shedding on Monday evening.
Image: 123RF/rasslava

Eskom has announced unprecedented stage 6 load-shedding from 6pm on Monday - with COO Jan Oberholzer saying "at this stage" it will last until 11pm.

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The ailing power utility said the move to stage 6, which has never been implemented before, was due to a "shortage of capacity".

"This follows a technical problem at Medupi power station impacting additional generation supply," it said on Twitter.

Rainfall was also blamed. "The heavy rains has caused coal-handling and operational problems at several power stations," said Eskom.

Speaking to eNCA, Oberholzer said: "We've lost today [Monday], due to the excessive flooding in Mpumalanga, 4,000MW ... It [the flooding] makes coal handling extremely difficult, so that's a problem."

He added that the "conveyor system" problem at Medupi has since been "resolved", but the power utility nonetheless had to "cut back tremendously".

"At this point in time, [stage 6] is up until 11pm tonight - and then we'll reassess the situation. We've cut back specifically to preserve our reserves, which is water as well as diesel, which we have run extensively today," he said.

In a statement, Eskom tried to assure South Africans that the move to stage 6 was not a cause for alarm.

"We remind and assure customers that load-shedding at stage 6 is no cause for alarm as the system is being effectively controlled. Stage 6 requires 6,000MW to be rotationally load-shed."

Eskom continued in a Facebook post that its emergency response command centre and technical teams "will be working through the night to restore units as soon as possible".

"Eskom is working closely [with] large industry to assist with further load curtailment. Load-shedding is a responsible act and [a] highly controlled process, implemented to protect the country from a national blackout.

"After 2015, Eskom and the municipalities identified the need to extend the load-shedding stages up to stage 8 and the national code (NRS048-9 Ed 2) was subsequently updated.

"Even beyond these schedules, the system operator will reduce demand in a manner that is controlled."