subscribe Support our award-winning journalism. The Premium package (digital only) is R30 for the first month and thereafter you pay R129 p/m now ad-free for all subscribers.
Subscribe now
Picture: Alaister Russell
Picture: Alaister Russell

There will be no easing of load-shedding to lower levels this weekend, as Eskom anticipates it will continue to implement stage 3 during the day, and stage 4 at night until at least Monday.

Thomas Conradie, the acting head of generation at Eskom, told journalists on Friday that the power utility had to “dispatch diesel quite hard during the past week” to make up for partial load losses from generating units.

As a result, it needs to implement stage 3 and 4 power cuts at the weekend “to rebuild reserves”.

There were 17,000MW of power not on the grid on Friday because of breakdowns out of total installed generation capacity of about 45,000MW.

While they anticipated that some units would return to service over the next week, Conradie said there was still a “high level of unreliability and unpredictability”.

“There is a significant number of units at risk representing about 4,700MW of capacity that can let us down at any stage,” he said.

Eskom chair Mpho Makwana said in January that one of the targets of the utility’s generation recovery plan, a key element of the national emergency response to load-shedding, was to increase the energy availability factor (EAF) of the generating fleet — a measure of the amount of energy being generated against the total installed generation capacity — to 60% by the end of March 2023.

Conradie said on Friday that the average EAF so far for February is about 54%, and that achieving 60% by the end of March will be “very difficult”.

This is especially so because Eskom plans to ramp up maintenance outages from about 4,250MW, where it stands now, to 5,760MW towards the end of March. This is to do critical repairs that will ensure greater availability during the high-demand winter months.

To achieve 60% EAF by the end of March, unplanned outages will have to be brought down from where they have been hovering these past few months at between 16,000MW and 19,000MW to no more than 13,500MW, he said.

erasmusd@businesslive.co.za

subscribe Support our award-winning journalism. The Premium package (digital only) is R30 for the first month and thereafter you pay R129 p/m now ad-free for all subscribers.
Subscribe now

Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.