15 February 2019

South Africa: Low Probability of Load Shedding On Friday

There is a low probability of load shedding today, with further improvements made in the generation performance of Eskom.

"Due to further improvement in generation performance and the notable strides made in replenishing water and diesel reserves, Eskom is not likely to implement load shedding on Friday," said the power utility.

While improved plant performance means that South Africans get some reprieve from load shedding, which began on Sunday, the power system remains tight and vulnerable.

After terminating stage two load shedding at 9:57pm on Thursday night, the utility stressed that it is making every effort to limit load shedding.

However, Eskom warned it could implement load shedding at short notice, should there be a shift in plant performance.

"This could include a significant loss in generating plants due to unplanned technical breakdowns," it warned.

While rain readiness plans are in place to manage the risk of wet coal, recent heavy rains could also impact coal handling and feeding to the boilers, with a potential impact on generation production.

"Eskom will keep customers informed should there be any changes that could increase the risk of load shedding," the company said, while also appealing to residents and business to continue to use electricity sparingly.

Eskom urged power users to switch off geysers as well as all non-essential lighting and electricity appliances to assist in reducing demand.

Responding to the debate on the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in the National Assembly on Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said Finance Minister Tito Mboweni will detail measures that government will take to assist the debt ridden company. Mboweni is due to table the Budget next Wednesday.

"It represents a significant commitment at a time when public finances are severely constrained.

"It must therefore be accompanied by - and must be dependent on - a credible, far-reaching turnaround plan that has both an immediate and a lasting impact," said the President, adding that leadership at Eskom has already taken steps to cut costs and improve efficiency.

The Department of Public Enterprises this week told Parliament that Eskom is facing a R420 billion debt burden.

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