Eskom load shedding South Africa power cuts
Eskom loadshedding. Photo: Pixabay

Eskom issued a ‘Power Alert’ on Sunday, 20 November 2022, announcing that Stage 4 loadshedding was to be implemented from 17:00 until 16:00 tomorrow (Monday 21st November)… and thereafter Stage 5 will be used from 16:00 until midnight on Monday until Wednesday. During the day various stages from 2 to 4 will be used.

“Changes in the stages of loadshedding will be more erratic due to the absence of the buffer that is normally provided by the diesel generation capacity between generating unit breakdowns,” said Eskom.

The increased implementation of loadshedding is mainly due to the high levels of breakdowns and the depleted emergency generation reserves.

Three units at Kusile Power Station are offline due to the duct (chimney structure) failure late in October and will remain offline for a few months while repairs to the chimney system take place. Unit 1 of Koeberg Nuclear Power Station will continue to generate at a reduced output over the next three weeks as the fuel is depleted ahead of the refuelling and maintenance outage scheduled to commence in December 2022.

Since Sunday morning a generating unit each at Arnot, Grootvlei and Majuba power stations were taken offline for repairs.

In some good news, a generating unit at Kriel Power Station was returned to service.

“We currently have 5 354MW on planned maintenance, while another 14 495MW of capacity is unavailable due to breakdowns,” said South Africa’s power utility.

The Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya, said shortly after Eskom’s announcement, that  “there are a range of initiatives” underway that will make “load shedding a thing of the past”. He conceded though that “it is difficult at times to remain optimistic when the results of our actions are not felt, immediately”.

Actions include recruiting more skilled personnel, setting up a special unit for police to handle sabotage and corruption, and establishing a new Eskom board to improve plant performance.

Magwenya said: “I think the president has been quite open about accepting the devastating nature of load shedding, not only to households but to businesses, to the economy and to jobs.”

2022 is not yet over, yet already there has been more load shedding (162 days) than any other year.