Eskom warns of summer load-shedding as maintenance not yielding required results
Eskom has warned load-shedding will continue during the summer as its maintenance programme is not yielding the required results.
The embattled power utility briefed the media on Monday to explain the reasons for the latest power cuts.
Load-shedding was reduced to stage 3 from 5am on Monday, and to stage 2 at 5am on Tuesday. However, by 9am, Eskom had informed SA it was heading back to stage 4 until 5am on Thursday.
LISTEN | Load-shedding worsens as more power units fail
'Maintenance is not yet yielding required results'
Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer described a series of breakdowns at power stations over the past week as “disastrous”, saying since last Monday, the utility lost almost 24,000 megawatts from its 42 generating units.
Oberholzer said Eskom plans to ramp up maintenance over the summer months, but the utility's maintenance is not yet yielding the required results.
“Many generating units return from planned maintenance only to suffer breakdowns again,” said Oberholzer. “The standard and quality of work being done are not what it should be, owing to lack of skills, particularly artisan skills and skilled operators both in Eskom and some of our partner contractors.”
191 days of load-shedding in summer on the cards
According to public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan, Eskom could implement 191 days of load-shedding during summer.
“Eskom’s worst-case scenario is an assumption of unplanned unavailability between 13,500MW and 15,000MW for winter and between 14,500MW and 16,000MW in summer.
“This shows that 104 days of load-shedding could be expected in winter and 191 days in the 2022/23 summer for a total of the 295 days,” said Gordhan in a written parliamentary Q&A.
What is the most intensive load-shedding year to date?
As of Tuesday, SA had endured 99 days of load-shedding in the year to date, with more on the cards this week. According to popular app EskomSePush, SA has experienced 1,345 hours so far this year.
This would put it as the worst year for load-shedding to date.
According to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) annual stats, 2021 surpassed 2020 as the country's most intensive load-shedding year.
Load-shedding occurred for 1,169 hours in 2021, with an upper limit of 2,521GWh. In 2020, load-shedding occurred for 859 hours, 530 hours in 2019 and 127 hours the year before that.
The CSIR said the intensification of load-shedding in 2021 could be attributed largely to the increase in unplanned outages across Eskom’s coal fleet.
“Load-shedding in 2021 overtook 2020 as the most intensive year of load-shedding to date, concentrated in October and November and dominated by Stage 2 load-shedding overall.”
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