Load shedding unlikely for now

Monday, June 18, 2018

Eskom says while the probability of load shedding today is low, it could still implement it if the demand for electricity increases in the evening.

“There is a low probability of rotational loadshedding during the day as a result of power station units being returned to the system but the probability of rotational load shedding increases for the evening peak period from 5pm to 9pm due to the normal expected increase in demand,” said the power utility.

Eskom said should the need for load shedding arise, this would be carried out for four hours.

It will also advise if the rotational load shedding will be conducted in either stage 1, stage 2, stage 3 or stage 4, dependent on the capacity shortage. Stage 1 requires 1000MW to be rotationally load shed nationwide, stage 2 requires 2000 MW, stage 3 requires 3000 MW and stage 4 calls for up to 4000 MW to be rotationally load shed nationally in that given period, said Eskom.

Load shedding is conducted as a measure of last resort to protect the power system from a total collapse or blackout.  

The power utility said recovery teams at power stations continue to work hard to stabilise the power system and to return the generation plant as quick as possible.

“Eskom’s prognosis is that the power system will take up to approximately ten days to recover from the effects of the recent industrial action, once all staff eventually return to work today. 

“The estimated ten-day prognosis for full restoration is due to the effects of the industrial action which interrupted continuous processes at the power plants. These processes have now to be cleared out and restarted which would take additional time.”

These include:

-       Coal management and transportation. For example the inability to transport coal from coal stock yards to coal bunkers due to the absence of operating staff. In addition, the already low coal stockpiles at some stations were exacerbated by road closures as coal delivery had to be suspended.

-       Significant increase in plant outages and a bottleneck in routine maintenance due to the lack of resources to optimally operate the plant; such as ash clearing and mechanical failures that occurred during the period.

-       In addition, Eskom is currently managing diesel levels at its peaking plants at 50% to ensure that sufficient diesel generation is available for emergencies.

Eskom said the increase in production and full stability can only increase and be achieved with the return of employees on Monday.

It will continue to re-assess the prognosis during the week.

“We continue to encourage residents and businesses to please use electricity sparingly to ease the demand of electricity. Please switch off geysers during the day especially during peak periods (7 am to 10 am and 6 pm to 9 pm) as well as all non-essential lighting and electricity appliances to assist in reducing demand.”

The power utility advised customers to keep checking their load shedding schedules on the Eskom and their municipal website, and plan on the assumption that load shedding will take place.

Load shedding schedules can be found on the Eskom website at loadshedding.eskom.co.za. Eskom customers can also contact our customer contact centre at 0860 037 566.

Wage talks resume

On Friday it was announced that Eskom and labour unions have agreed to go back to the negotiation table to bring an end to protest action, which has disrupted the supply of electricity.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan convened a meeting with the Eskom board and management and the three labour unions - National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and Solidarity - with the intention of getting all parties to engage on the issues around the employee salary negotiations.

“The parties agreed that the current disruptions at Eskom, which resulted in load shedding as of Thursday, are not beneficial to any party [and]… the country and the economy,” said Gordhan.

According to the Minister “the spirit of the meeting was to get all parties to get back to the negotiation table, to normalise relationships and to normalise operations at Eskom”.

Gordhan said it was agreed that the 0% offer from Eskom is off the table and to normalise operations immediately to restore normal production in order to ensure the security of electricity supply.

Prior to implementing load shedding, on Thursday Eskom announced that the generation and distribution of electricity across its network was constrained due to acts of sabotage and intimidation as a result of protest action. - SAnews.gov.za