South Africa: Evening Peak Constraints Could Trigger Load Shedding

Eskom has warned that it could implement load shedding at short notice if it experiences any more challenges at its generation units.

The power utility suspended load shedding on Saturday afternoon following at least five days of continuous load shedding last week.

"While the power system has recovered sufficiently to fully meet the demand during the day, Eskom would like to caution the public that load shedding might be required at short notice during the evening peaks, should there be further breakdowns in current available capacity," Eskom said on Monday.

The power utility said it expects at least two units to return to service by this evening, which will increase its capacity and assist in managing the evening peak.

"Should any of these units fail to return as expected, the power system will be severely constrained, presenting an increased probability of load shedding at short notice. The return to service of a generation unit each at Matimba and Lethabo, as well as two units each at Hendrina and three at Tutuka power stations have been delayed, increasing the evening peak constraints," the electricity supplier said.

Unplanned breakdowns at power stations are currently costing the power utility at least 14 985MW in capacity, with a further 3 049MW unavailable due to planned maintenance.

Eskom said further exacerbating the situation is the increased demand for electricity as the colder months begin to settle in.

"The onset of winter has increased demand and this will lead to a constrained system, particularly during the morning and evening peaks, throughout the winter. We therefore urge all South Africans to continue using electricity sparingly between 5am and 9am in the mornings, and 4pm and 10pm in the evenings.

"We remind the public that load shedding is implemented only as a last resort to protect the national grid. Eskom will promptly communicate should there be any significant changes to the power system," Eskom said.

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