Eskom has warned that loadshedding may be increased to Stage 4 tonight and tomorrow should the demand far exceed the supply it can offer.
Following massive breakdowns over the weekend, mainly due to boiler tube leaks at a number of units, Eskom announced it would implement Stage 3 loadshedding on Monday and Tuesday evening.
Thereafter, loadshedding would be reduced to Stage 2 for the rest of the week, it said.
However, in a media briefing that included Eskom’s CEO Andre de Ruyter and COO Jan Oberholzer, the power utility warned that loadshedding stages may be increased to a higher stage and for a longer period in the day in the week .
“The outlook currently is that we will implement loadshedding Stage 3 today and tomorrow and Stage 2 on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. But, loadshedding may be increased from Stage 3 to Stage 4. We are still going to be burning a lot of diesel and may be forced to implement loadshedding throughout the day and not just in the evenings.
“We will try to avoid that but there is always a risk,” Oberholzer said.
He revealed that Eskom has already burnt about 40million litres of diesel for the month of May.
Oberholzer explained that breakdowns occurred on a unit each at Tutuka, Camden and Majuba power stations over the weekend.
A unit that supplied more than 700 MegaWatts of power also tripped on Friday and is only expected to return to service by Wednesday at the latest.
“On Saturday, eight generators suffered breakdowns. Only one has returned successfully to the grid. What we lost on Saturday is a lot more than what we gained,” he said.
The other seven units are expected to return during the course of the week. These broke down mainly due to boiler tube leaks.
Oberholzer explained that since boilers are high pressure vessels, work needed to be done and assessed according to extremely high industry standards and safety of the technicians were always most important.
De Ruyter added that a significant diesel theft syndicate has also resulted in two units completely out of order which contributed to a loss of about 900 MegaWatts of capacity.
“The reserves are in reasonable shape but we have to manage it carefully. The dams are looking healthy as well. It is really the full load losses that we see across the generation fleet that is hampering us resulting in loadshedding,” De Ruyter said.