With the implementation of Stage 6 load shedding, Minister in the Presidency responsible for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, has assured citizens that Eskom is working to ensure that generating units that have been lost are returned to service and that the emergency reserves are replenished.
Addressing a media briefing on Friday, the Minister said the implementation of Stage 6 load shedding is a significant setback but government remains confident in its ability to resolve the energy security challenge.
Stage 6 load shedding was implemented from 12pm today and is expected to end on Monday at 5am due to the loss of five generating units over the past 24 hours, the need to replenish emergency reserves and an increase in demand.
“We think that in the next two weeks, we will have an additional buffer. We are expecting Unit 2 of Kusile to come online by the end of this month and we expect Unit 5 at Kusile to come online by the third week of December,” Ramokgopa said.
He said Eskom is sitting at about 14 590 megawatts (MW) of unplanned capacity loss factor (UCLF) and the vacuum losses are about 807MW.
“If you put it together, we are talking about 15 300MW. That is not out of the norm if you look at [it in relation to] the winter plan. We had over committed our reserves for purposes of protecting the grid.
“We need to ensure that we continue to protect reserves so we are not going to engage them at a high intensity and as a result, you don’t have the benefit of the 4 600MW that you would ordinarily draw from our emergency reserves.
“By not engaging the reserves, it means that Eskom will be replenishing those reserves and we are going to draw from the grid.
“That’s why we need the additional capacity. That is why that capacity is not be made available to the average consumer. It is for Eskom to consume for purposes of replenishing the dam levels.
“As a result of engaging the emergency reserves, we are depleting them and they perform a very important function, which is the protecting of the grid. If things were to go bad, we will draw from the emergency reserves.
“At any given point, [you want] to be able to draw from the emergency reserves in instances of extreme occurrences, which we have not experienced and don’t anticipate to experience. We continue to work with the team at Eskom to ensure that we improve the situation,” the Minister said.
Eskom Group Executive: Generation, Bheki Nxumalo, said the demand increased on Friday and it is continuously above by 1 500MW.
“The low reserves caused for intensified stages of load shedding. The units that we have lost between Thursday and Friday include Duvha Unit 4, Majuba Unit 3 and Lethabo Unit 6,” Nxumalo said.