Blackouts and extended load-shedding: how Eskom showed us flames this week
South Africans have endured a week of power cuts as Eskom struggles with a constrained power system.
Since implementing stage 2 last Wednesday, which was initially expected to end on Friday last week, Eskom has announced four extensions of load-shedding.
On Wednesday evening, Eskom said it would suspend load-shedding for four hours between 10am and 2pm on Thursday to allow the nation to participate in the memorial service of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini.
The rotational power outages will be reintroduced at 2pm.
Here's a rundown of how Eskom has showed us flames so far:
March 10: Load-shedding is back
The power utility implemented load-shedding last Wednesday and said it would suspend it on Friday. It said this was due to poor performance by the Duvha, Tutuka and Kusile power stations and delayed return to service of some units and breakdowns.
It said load-shedding would replenish the emergency generation reserves which had supplemented the energy supply.
March 12: The first extension
Constrained generation capacity and further breakdowns, said Eskom, meant load-shedding would be extended until last Sunday.
“Breakdowns at the Kriel, Medupi and Kendal power stations resulted in generation units being taken offline for various faults. Emerging risks at various other power stations have also contributed to the constraints,” said Eskom.
March 14: Load-shedding extended until Wednesday
Many were disappointed again on Sunday when Eskom announced another load-shedding extension until 5am on Wednesday.
It said though it had managed to successfully return to service a generation unit each at the Matimba and Medupi power stations, additional breakdowns at the Tutuka, Majuba, Kusile, Matimba and Duvha stations, compounded the strain in its generation capacity.
March 16: More blackouts until Saturday, but with a downgrade to stage 1
On Tuesday, the power utility said blackouts would continue until Saturday. It said in a statement it would move from stage 2 to stage 1 at 5am on Wednesday.
Eskom said it lost generation unit capacity at Medupi, Arnot and Komati power stations despite its team having managed to successfully return four generation units at Kusile, Grootvlei, Kriel and Matla, as well as the Cahora Bassa line from Mozambique.
The power utility said this was not enough to suspend load-shedding.
March 17: Eskom backtracks on reduced power cuts, ramps up load-shedding back to stage 2
Eskom on Wednesday reported a further loss of generation capacity at the Medupi, Arnot, Duvha and Kendal power stations.
It said it would increase to stage 2 from 9pm until 5am on Saturday.
“Contributing factors for the losses are boiler tube leaks and units tripping, as well as the delay in the return to service of a single unit at the Kendal power station,” it said.
It further reported an increase in energy demand.