Load shedding to continue despite progress in Eskom recovery

Eskom Chief Executive, Andre de Ruyter, says load shedding Stage 2 is expected to continue throughout the weekend although some generating units have or are expected to return to service.
De Ruyter was speaking during a media briefing on Thursday morning on challenges facing the power system following the announcement of load shedding on Tuesday.
The power utility is battling partial load losses of at least 12 902MW, down from some 14 994MW of lost power by Wednesday.
“Overnight we regained some units. Regrettably, we also lost some units. Matla Power Station Unit 5 returned to service. Kusile Power Station is currently running at 333 MW…[and] Kendal Power Station Unit 5 returned to service.
“There are plans in place to return more units to service. So at this point in time our recovery is as anticipated. However, we have to point out that there is still the possibility that we may lose further units and therefore at this point in time…we will maintain Stage 2 load shedding until 5am Monday morning,” he said.
According to the chief executive, Camden Power Station’s Unit 3 and Medupi Power Station’s Unit 6 are on planned outages.
He also reported trips at Thuthuka Power Station Unit 4 and a forced shutdown of Arnot Power Station’s Unit 2.
De Ruyter said in terms of the emergency generating reserves which were depleted since the weekend, the power utility is replenishing its dams and diesel stocks.
“We will manage our dam levels over the weekend and replenish our upper dams so that will give us…the reserve capacity that we require from a pump storage perspective.  We have managed to improve the stockholding of our diesel at our open cycle gas turbine plants at Ankerlig Power Station as well as at Gourikwa Power Station. Gourikwa is sitting currently at 84% and Ankerlig at 59%.
“[On Wednesday] we were at 30% at Ankerlig [which] is a very important [power station] when it comes to giving us that reserve buffer capacity in the event that we have a major system upset,” de Ruyter said.
The power utility’s Chief Operations Officer, Jan Oberholzer, explained that Eskom is aware of the disruptions that load shedding causes and Eskom does not implement it arbitrarily.
“It is not that we are just buying ourselves time by saying that we will carry on with [the current] load shedding. We really apply our minds…and look at what the demand is, where we find ourselves and what the status of our emergency [reserves] is. This is why we made the decision…that we have to implement load shedding.
“We are obviously very cognisant of the [impact] of load shedding to the economy of the country and whenever we believe that it’s safe enough to lift load shedding, we will do so,” Oberholzer said.
He added that the power utility is looking at alternative ways of implementing load shedding but emphasised that these are tentative plans.
“It may also be that going forward we will lift load shedding perhaps…during the day and implement it say between 9 at night until 5 in the morning. So it all depends on the availability of capacity as well as the level of our emergencies,” Oberholzer said. – SAnews