Power station breakdowns put power system under pressure

Power station breakdowns put power system under pressure

Breakdowns and shut downs at Eskom’s power stations has led to the implementation of Stage 2 load shedding.

According to the power utility, at least seven units were affected – putting the power grid under severe pressure.

“Medupi Unit 3 broke down, necessitating load shedding to be [implemented]…continuously until 5am on Wednesday. This adds to the multiple generating unit failures that occurred over the past 24 hours and has severely reduced available generating capacity.

“Since [Monday] morning, a unit each at Matla, Kendal, Matimba, Kusile and Grootvlei power stations tripped, while a unit each at Arnot and Hendrina power stations were forced to shut down. This, in addition to other units that had tripped during the weekend, reduced available generation capacity, forcing Eskom to rely heavily on emergency generation reserves to keep the lights on,” the power utility said.

Eskom explained that the current bout of load shedding will allow the power utility to replenish emergency generation reserves which have been used “significantly since the past weekend”.

“While we expect some generation units to return to service…Eskom appeals to all South Africans to help us limit the impact of load shedding by reducing the usage of electricity and to switch off all non-essential appliances,” Eskom said.

Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa has acknowledged that the power utility is facing serious challenges – some of which can be remedied through government’s procurement of additional power.

“Eskom is dealing with a very difficult situation. We are short of 4000MW so when they reach…their availability factor – which is low – then they are challenged because they don’t have an additional 4000MW.

“We are speeding up the acquisition of the 4000MW. Once we’ve got an additional 4000MW, we are in a much better position. This is important for the economy, for the people of South Africa. We want to see this resolved [but] there will be those hiccups, those ups and downs. But the matter is being addressed, is being handled,” he said.

The power utility is expected to brief the media on the current challenges facing the power grid on Tuesday