Embattled power utility Eskom released a statement on Thursday 16 January, saying that the system appears to be in good shape and no load shedding is expected for the day. However, there’s a catch — “things may change at short notice”.
Eskom said the grid appeared to be stable on Thursday as units that were on unplanned outages due to to coal handling problems caused by flooding, started pumping power into the grid. Eskom said it would most likely avoid load shedding for the day even though it’s not yet pumping power into the grid at full capacity.
“While the overall system remains constrained, we do not anticipate load shedding today,” said the statement.
Eskom’s unplanned breakdowns show a positive trend
Eskom also noted that, in addition, their emergency resources are adequate in case the utility would need to supplement capacity.
The power utility explained that in order to reach a “safe zone”, unplanned outages need to be below 9 500MW.
“Unplanned outages or breakdowns are also showing a positive trend being at 11 673MW as at 06:00 this morning. As previously indicated, our aim is to keep unplanned outages below 9 500MW,” said the statement.
“Our summer maintenance plan continues unabated with two big units at Hendrina and Lethabo going on scheduled maintenance today [Thursday]. We have planned accordingly to ensure that their absence does not destabilise the system,” it added.
The Hendrina Power Station is in Mpumalanga and is one of South Africa’s oldest operating power stations. The Lethabo Power Station is in the Free State and is a large coal-fired power station owned and operated by Eskom.
Eskom says ‘things may change at short notice’
In the statement, the state-owned enterprise said it is monitoring the system closely and will continue to give periodic updates on the status of the power system as things may change at short notice.
Eskom also asked that customers help to reduce power demand.
“A concerted collective effort to reduce demand can help to avoid or lessen the level of load shedding and as such, we strongly urge customers to assist by helping to reduce demand by using electricity sparingly,” it said.
Five steps to reduce electricity demand
Set air-conditioners’ average temperature at 23°C;Switch off your geysers over peak periods;Use the cold water tap rather than using the geyser every time; Set your swimming pool pump cycle to run twice a day, three hours at a time for optimal energy use; andAt the end of the day, turn off computers, copiers, printers and fax machines at the switch. Avoid standby or sleep mode.
Eskom deputy spokesperson Dikatso Mothae did not respond to TheSouthAfrican.com for comment at the the time of publication.