The state-owned enterprise, Eskom, has downgraded stage level for load-shedding to stage 1.
This is the case at the time of writing but there still remains the strong possibility that the stage level will be upgraded to stage two, and this could even be a possibility today and definitely going into the weekend. This despite Eskom CEO, Jabu Mabuza saying that load-shedding should cease by this weekend. The current load-shedding implementation has been blamed on boiler leaks at 6 different power generating units, although some of these units are now online. Mabuza went further on to stress the fact that some the current power generation fleet has an average age of 36 years.
Another factor that contributed to the rolling black out, was the failure of the conveyor belt feeding coal from Exxaro’s Grootegeluk mine to the Medupi power station in Lephalale, Limpopo. The conveyor belt, which transports an average of 4000 tons of coal to the Medupi plant, per hour, reportedly broke down on Saturday. Mabuza mentioned in the presser, that a huge contingent of expertise has been dispatched to the area and he expects the machinery to be up and running by next week, Wednesday. Whether load-shedding will stay away this weekend or not, remains to be seen then..
Currently, coal is being transported to the Medupi powerplant by means of bulldozers. Eskom, also has had to make use of open cycle gas turbines to cater for the current electricity shortfall. The issue with this, and it was an issue back in March as well, is that diesel stocks are incredibly expensive and current stocks are running low. This also contributes to the load-shedding situation. Mabuza said that Eskom is using much less diesel that it has in the past. In the past financial year, Eskom burnt diesel worth R6bn to keep the lights on in South Africa – in the year to date, it only used R500m.
Please ensure that you check your schedule to see how you are affected and remember to protect your appliances from power surge by switching them off at the wall sockets before load-shedding commences.