Load shedding pilot project
NEW PLAN: ESKOM HOPES TO LIMIT HARM ON ECONOMY
Power utility says programme can only be tested on day-by-day basis.
Eskom announced yesterday it would be implementing stage 2 load shedding from 9am today until at least Thursday at 6am, and also said a decision had been taken to switch all the lights back on between 4pm and 6pm in order to allow people to drive home from work.
Load shedding would then resume from 6pm until 6am.
The utility said this was a pilot programme and could only be tested on a day-by-day basis. Eskom will implement load shedding due to a shortage of capacity and to replenish emergency reserves.
“Load shedding is necessary due to a shortage of capacity and to replenish emergency reserves during this week,” Eskom said in a statement.
Eskom’s new chief executive, Andre de Ruyter, hopes to regain South Africa’s trust by addressing operational stability. This involves an 18-month maintenance plan that is aimed at restoring the utility’s ability to ensure reliable and consistent energy supply.
Hot on the heels of Eskom announcing renewed load shedding the night before, De Ruyter informed the media on Friday about the ethos of the plan, which involves returning to “philosophy maintenance”. This means Eskom will be conducting strict maintenance on its power generation fleet in line with the manufacturer guidelines, as opposed to the piecemeal approach it had adopted.
The new plan would be implemented within the next three months, said De Ruyter, and would ensure that Eskom got a handle on unpredictable plant breakdowns, which led to the expensive use of diesel to produce electricity, as well as load shedding.
“If we don’t implement this plan, there is a risk that the deterioration in our system performance will continue,” he said.
Eskom has a threshold of 9 500 megawatts (MW) for unplanned plant breakdowns, but over the past three months has had between 10 000MW and 13 500MW in lost capacity, leaving the system under strain.
Giving an update on the state of Eskom’s system, chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer said Eskom had to institute 21 days of load shedding since September, when its summer plan was announced. For the year to date, Eskom’s unplanned outages have been higher than anticipated, recording 471 trips from a target of 420, while its energy availability factor was lower than the 71.5% target, at merely 68%. – Additional reporting by Citizen reporter
Load shedding is necessary due to a shortage of capacity
Hennie Ferreira Osidon chief executive