Eskom CEO reveals load-shedding plan for the wee

Eskom has revealed the load-shedding stages it plans to implement for the rest of the week.

Speaking at a media briefing on Monday afternoon, Eskom CEO André de Ruyter explained why it was necessary to implement stage 6 load-shedding in the “prevailing generation situation”.

De Ruyter said the utility had around 12,318MW offline due to full load losses and another 5,993MW in partial load losses.

Furthermore, coal constraints and a boiler tube leak at Lethabo Power Station resulted in another 2,100MW being unavailable.

Lastly, Eskom was performing planned maintenance on about 3,766MW of capacity. Taken together, these outages amounted to 24,177MW.

That would result in Eskom having a shortfall of around 5,834MW in generation capacity when considering the anticipated demand of 27,282MW for the Monday evening peak.

De Ruyter said that Eskom expected to return about 3,000MW of generation on Monday, followed by 2,000MW on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

However, because Eskom had to continue running its open-cycle gas turbines “hard” to meet demand, De Ruyter said it had to continue implementing load-shedding at high levels.

Should things go according to plan, De Ruyter said Eskom would implement load-shedding as follows in the coming week:

  • Until evening peak period on Wednesday, 22 February 2023 — Stage 6
  • From morning on Thursday, 23 February 2023 — “Phasing down” to Stage 4
  • From weekend [uncertain date] — Stage 3
Eskom’s Kusile power plant flue gas duct failed

De Ruyter also listed some of the significant contributors to the generation shortfall:

  • 2,160MW offline from three units at Kusile due to collapse of flue-gas duct
  • 920MW out due to Koeberg Unit 1 as part of the life extension project, expected to return by July 2023
  • 700MW offline from Kusile Unit 5 due to fire damage, return set for July 2023
  • 700MW offline from Medupi Unit 4 due to explosion; repairs estimated to be finished by September 2024
  • 600MW load loss at Mathimba Power Station due to high ambient temperatures around Lephalale

The CEO said the balance of Eskom’s coal-fired fleet was old and unreliable, which meant that incidents like the coal shortage at Lethabo created a severe capacity shortfall that required urgent action.

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