The country woke up to the dreaded Stage 6 loadshedding, meaning power will be out for four hours at a time. But Eskom is not sure when the implemented Stage 6 will come to an end.
STAGE 6 LOADSHEDDING EXPECTED TO REMAIN
Eskom announced in the early hours of the morning that Stage 6 loadshedding will be implemented from Sunday. This comes after the tripping of generation units at each of the Kusile and Kriel power stations.
The country has been under different stages of loadshedding since Monday, with the main cause being the trip of old generation units, the low dam levels and diesel supply.
But Stage 6 will continue in order to protect the currently available emergency reserves, said Eskom’s Chief Operating Officer Jan Oberholzer.
He said of the current long list of generators which have broken down this week, only 10 are operating at various power stations. This means the country is dependent on them. Eskom has to prioritise repairing the broken-down generator units.
“Looking at it, Stage 6 loadshedding will remain implemented until generations are returned to service. We are not yet able to make a firm commitment on when we will be able to ease the current stage of loadshedding.”
He said depending on the outcomes of repairs on Sunday, there is a slight possibility to drop the current Stage 6 loadshedding. But in the meantime, nothing is guaranteed.
“We will definitely have a high stage of loadshedding for this week, unfortunately, going forward.”
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ESKOM’S WEEK OF GENERATION BREAKDOWNS
The power utility implemented Stage 3 loadshedding on Monday, but as the week progressed, this stage kept increasing.
Monday saw a breakdown of seven generation units, totaling 3 000 MW. Some generation units returned later that day. But Tuesday, Stage 4 loadshedding was implemented due to a breakdown of an additional four generation units, meaning 4 000 MW had to be shutdown. But six of the eight units returned, said Oberholzer.
“Wednesday, we had Stage 4 because another five generators broke down, totaling 2 500MW and six units returned. But on Wednesday, the diesel and dam levels were running extremely low. Thursday, we saw another five generation units breakdown. Four generators returned during the day.”
But the week seemed to worsen as on Friday, another five generators shutdown. Saturday morning, Eskom was running extremely low on emergency reserves and lost a number of generators, yet again. This, Oberlholzer said, is the reason why Stage 5 loadshedding was implemented on Saturday morning.
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Eskom CEO Andre De Ruyter apologises to the country for the current loadshedding stage, but instead asked South Africans to ease up on electricity usage.
“We are trying to source generation capacity as quickly as we can with the Independent Power Producers (IPP) services and we are really seeing quick responses from all sides as there is a keen willingness to address this crisis. Our appeal to all South Africans is to use electricity sparingly,” said De Ruyter.