Eskom Management is starting to Get On top of Their Loadshedding Challenges

  • Eskom is confident that the country will go through winter with no or limited loadshedding.
  • Despite a cold front last week causing an increase in energy demand, Eskom managed to get through this period of high demand in the evening peak without using a lot of diesel.
  • Eskom expects additional power from generation units that were out for planned Maintenance which is currently at about 6 000 MW.

Last week, Eskom indicated that it now has a better understanding of root causes of breakdowns following work done by its technical review team and has a reliable maintenance plan for its plants, with maintenance being prioritised over this period.

Phakamani Hadebe, the Group Chief Executive of Eskom says, “We have done an extensive winter plan and review of our power system and identified the problems. While the plan gives us confidence that we may go through winter with no or limited loadshedding, we are mindful of the potential of risks on a very tight power system which may result in shifts on the power system and which could result in loadshedding.

“We have mapped out scenarios that show that we will implement loadshedding in cases where unplanned breakdowns increase to more than 9 500 MW, delays in returning units from planned maintenance or in cases of unanticipated disruptive events,” he said.

“The first few days in April have given reassurance of the integrity of our plan as we managed to avoid loadshedding on three days where it was forecasted due to good performance of our plant. We managed to go through periods of high demand in the evening peak without using a lot of diesel,” noted Hadebe.

Four significant events show that Eskom is getting to grips with their load shedding challenges:

  • Eskom expects additional power from generation units that were out for planned maintenance which is currently at about 6 000 MW and will ramp down to about 2 000 MW towards highest demand period in May.
  • Two units that were on long-term outages at Kriel and Matla (1 050 MW) will also be returned to service.
  • Kusile 3 is also expected to synchronise to the grid for the first time towards the end of April.
  • Imports from Cahora Bassa are expected to be back at full load.

Eskom appeals to South Africans to continue using electricity sparingly to achieve up to 500 MW savings from demand management. The utility also acknowledged the public’s response to switching off their lights during Earth Hour on 30 March 2019 which yielded a savings of 554 MW. This indicates that if we all work together it can be done.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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