South Africa: Eskom Hard At Work to Keep the Lights On

While some generation units have returned from planned maintenance, measures are being taken to replenish Eskom's pumped storage and diesel generators as part of efforts to keep the lights on.

"Eskom has since Monday, increased its usage of its pumped storage and diesel generators to keep the lights on. The extensive use has led to a decline in the pumped storage water and diesel levels and a concerted effort is being made to replenish these reserves," said the power utility on Wednesday.

In its statement the power utility highlighted that the power system remains severely constrained with unplanned breakdowns above 12 000MW. This is despite the fact that some generation units have returned from planned and unplanned maintenance.

"Eskom's Emergency Response Command Centre continues to monitor the system and has implemented contingencies to supplement emergency reserves in order to avoid and/or if unavoidable, minimize load shedding," it said.

In addition, the probability of load shedding remains and any shift on the system could result in load shedding at short notice.

The utility's Summer Plan which was announced in September said unplanned breakdowns above 9 500MW require the use of emergency resources at a high rate (diesel and pumped water storage generators).

The use of emergency resources at a high rate increase the probability of load shedding if the supply constraints are sustained for a long duration.

The utility which will provide an update later today, appealed to customers to continue to use electricity sparingly throughout the day.

It appealed to customers to:

- 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 the swimming pool pump cycle 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.

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