South Africa: Eskom System Remains Vulnerable

12 November 2019

Power company Eskom says the system remains constrained and vulnerable with generating plants performing at very low levels of reliability.

"With unplanned breakdowns that are above 10 500 MW as at 06h00, the probability of load shedding remains but will only be implemented if absolutely necessary," Eskom said in a statement.

According to Eskom, there is sufficient diesel for open cycle gas turbines and water at the pumped storage schemes to supplement the shortage of capacity, if required.

The Emergency Response Command Centre (ERCC) continues to monitor the system closely.

"Eskom wishes to remind customers that any unexpected shift, such as additional unplanned breakdowns or the unavailability of diesel for open cycle gas turbines or low water levels at the pumped storage schemes, could result in load shedding at short notice," Eskom said.

As communicated in the Summer Plan on 4 September 2019, unplanned breakdowns above 9 500 MW require the use of emergency resources at a high rate and they increase the probability of load shedding if the supply constraints are sustained for a long period.

"A concerted collective effort to reduce demand can help to lessen the level of load shedding," Eskom said.

Eskom urged customers to use electricity sparingly by:

- Setting air-conditioners' average temperature at 23ºC.

- Switching off geysers over peak periods.

- Setting swimming pool pump cycles 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. Avoid stand-by or sleep mode.

Customers are advised to check their load shedding schedules on the Eskom or municipal websites.

"We remind customers that load shedding is conducted rotationally as a measure of last resort to protect the power system from total collapse or blackout. We will continue to keep South Africans informed about the status of the electricity system," Eskom said.

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