21 February 2014

South Africa: Eskom Power Emergency Lifted

Eskom has lifted its power emergency allowing all industrial customers to go back to full production.

Eskom says however that the power system remains constrained, but stable.

On Thursday, the power utility declared an emergency as the power system was severely constrained due to the loss of additional generating units from the power station fleet, reduced imports and the extensive use of emergency reserves.

Earlier in the day, Eskom called on industrial customers, commercial and residential customers to save by reducing their load by a minimum of 10%. Customers responded to the call and contributed to the savings throughout the day.

Eskom Chief Executive Officer Brian Dames said the emergency was lifted last night at 9pm allowing all industrial customers to go back to full production.

"However, it is important that all electricity consumers contribute to savings by reducing their consumption as we remain on high alert until early next week.

"A few generating units that were out for maintenance were returned to service and we received savings of approximately 1 000MW from industrial, commercial and residential consumers who responded to our call for a 10% reduction," Dames said.

He said they were doing everything possible to increase their reserve margin by ensuring that they have adequate emergency reserves and returning the plant from planned and unplanned maintenance to limit any additional risks. The imports from Cahorra Bassa also returned to normal levels last night.

"While there has been a recovery, the system remains under pressure, such that we could re-introduce the emergency should there be any material deterioration in the system," Dames said.

Dames acknowledged that some residential customers may have experienced some power interruptions, which they believe were due to localised problems, however, he assured that at no stage did Eskom implement rotational load shedding.

"The prognosis for tomorrow (Friday) remains constrained but stable as we expect our imports to improve, additional generating units to come back on line and demand is traditionally lower over the weekends," Dames said.

Eskom calls on all its commercial customers, particularly shopping centres and retail outlets to immediately switch off geysers and to adjust air-conditioning temperature levels to 23⁰C.

"As workers leave office buildings in the evenings, we ask that they please switch off lights with the exception of the security lighting, and avoid leaving on air-conditioning overnight," said Dames.

Eskom called on residential consumers to switch off geysers, air conditioners, lights and non-essential appliances in order to limit from 5pm to 9pm.

For tips on how to trim 10% off your consumption, visit www.eskom.co.za/idm.

Eskom will provide regular updates on the status of the power system.

- SAnews.gov.za

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