Medupi conveyor belt snaps, high risk of load shedding returns

Living with Eskom really is a rollercoaster of emotions or a brutal game of Russian Roulette, you just never know what's in store for you. On Wednesday 9 September, we were told that load shedding had been suspended due to increased generation supply. One day later on Thursday 10 September, Eskom said Stage 2 load shedding may be a possibility. 


According to Eskom, a conveyor belt feeding coal into the Medupi generation units failed on Wednesday night, increasing the risk of load shedding. This means the four generation units in service are not able to take in the requisite amount of coal to generate electricity. 

"This puts further strain on Eskom's ability to fully supply electricity over the next 24 hours," Eskom said in a statement. 

While Eskom said its teams are working around the clock to repair the conveyor belt, which is expected to take the better part of the day, any further breakdown elsewhere in the generation fleet would necessitate the implementation of Stage 2 load shedding at short notice. 

"Eskom will continue to communicate should there be any further changes as the system remains unreliable and vulnerable," it said. 

"We urge the people of South Africa to continue using electricity sparingly in order to assist Eskom to avoid the implementation of load shedding," it added. 


President Cyril Ramaphosa, during a question and answer session with the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) on Wednesday evening, said Eskom needs competition in order to be kept on its toes. 

Ramaphosa told the media that government has agreed on two things. First, that there should be self-generated power and second, that Eskom needs competition. 

"We've agreed that there should be self-generation. And there's a regulation that says it has to be licenced, now that is in our laws, in our regulations," he said. 

"Then again we've also agreed that there should be competition, there should be generation that will put Eskom on its toes," he added. 

On Wednesday 2 September, while Eskom made a submission to the Standing Committee on Appropriations (SCOA), the power utility said it has a shortfall of R350 billion based on the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa's) tariff decisions. According to Eskom, its debt continues to grow despite price hikes, pointing to the fact that prices may need to be increased. 

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