Load shedding has made a sudden return in 2020 following a brief reprieve during the December festive period.
Shortly before 21:00 on Saturday 4 January, Eskom announced that it would be implanting Stage 2 rotational load shedding, citing numerous ‘unplanned breakdowns’ as the primary reason for the dire shortage of capacity.
Read: Here’s how to check your Eskom load shedding schedule in 2020
Eskom load shedding Saturday 4 January 2020
Earlier in the day, the utility confirmed that it was hard at work in an attempt to mitigate rotational cuts, saying:
“As the generating plant continues to perform at low levels of reliability, we are experiencing a high level of breakdowns, which are sitting at 15,921MW as at 6.30am this morning.
The current high level of unplanned breakdowns is of concern and our teams are working flat out to ensure that the risk of load shedding is minimised as South Africa returns to work from 6 January 2020. We will be working on returning some generating units to service during this weekend including Koeberg Unit 1, which will start feeding into the grid.
Eskom will continue to use emergency reserves to supplement capacity if necessary.”
Load shedding blamed on Medupi failure
Eskom, which has experienced an upsurge in unplanned breakdowns, blamed the implementation of load shedding on a technical failure at the beleaguered Medupi power station. The power utility explained that a ‘conveyor belt failure’ was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, slashing vital generational capacity at the worst possible time. Eskom explained:
“Owing to an unanticipated conveyer belt failure at Medupi power station, the system is currently severely strained and vulnerable. While a number of units are being brought back on line following repairs and maintenance, it is essential to implement Stage 2 load shedding.”
Eskom confirmed that while engineers were desperately attempting to repair the failure at Medupi, Stage 2 load shedding would be scheduled between 22:00 on Saturday 4 January until 08:00 on Sunday 5 January. The power utility vowed to provide further updates on Sunday morning.
This is a developing story – more details to follow