By Mia Lindeque for Eyewitness News
Eskom says its implementing stage two loadshedding at 8 am.
The utility says it’s battling with several breakdowns of generation units at its plants, which have taken 2 0000 megawatts off the grid.
The blackouts are expected to last until at least 10 pm.
However, Eskom is warned of a high possibility it may ramp up loadshedding to stage three for the evening peak period.
Eskom’s Sikonathi Mantshantsha said: “Eskom regrets informing the country that starting from 8 am this morning, we will have to implement loadshedding stage 2. This is due to the increase in breakdowns overnight and this morning. We will be implementing stage 2 loadshedding, as we have had additional breakdowns overnight.”
Tens of thousands of people on the west rand, the Vaal and Soweto had their power cut at 5am already.
Eskom says its implemented so-called “load reduction” in these areas to prevent network overloading.
Power was expected to be restored to these communities at 9 am, and it’s not yet clear how loadshedding will impact them after that.
Eskom yesterday released a press release stating that it “would like to inform South Africans and all its customers that the electricity system has been severely constrained this week. As a result of the loss of additional generation, delays in the return to service of units that are on planned maintenance and limited diesel supply, it has become necessary to implement stage 2 rotational loadshedding from 09:00 until 23:00 in order to protect the power system from a total collapse.”
In the System Status Briefing of 4 September 2019 Eskom warned that in order to avoid loadshedding, unplanned breakdowns needed to be contained at below 9 500MW. In the event generator breakdowns are experienced beyond 10 500MW there will be high usage of emergency resources (diesel and pumped storage generators), which may lead to loadshedding if the supply constraints is sustained for a long duration.
The severe supply constraint being experienced has come about due to high levels of unplanned breakdowns that have exceeded the 10 500MW limit. The supply constraint is caused by, among others, five generating units that are unavailable due to boiler tube leaks. In addition, a conveyor belt supplying Medupi Power Station with coal failed on Saturday 12 October resulting in low volumes of coal being supplied to the power station thus limiting the generating capability to approximately half the station output.
Due to the shortage of generating capacity from coal fired generation, the pumped storage and OCGT generators have been used extensively since Saturday, 12 October which has led to a decline in the dam levels and diesel tank levels.
“We unreservedly apologise to South Africans for the negative impact this may have on them and want to assure the nation that we continue to work tirelessly to ensure security of energy supply.”
Eskom has appealled to customers to continue to use electricity sparingly throughout the day:
• Set air-conditioners’ average temperature at 23ºC
• Switch off geysers over peak periods
• Use the cold water tap rather than using the geyser every time
• Set swimming pool pump cycles to run twice a day, three hours at a time for optimal energy use
• At the end of the day, turn off computers, copiers, printers and fax machines at the switch. Avoid stand-by or sleep mode