Cape Town - Eskom has so far kept the weekend free of power cuts as it started a massive maintenance drive to improve the performance and reliability of its power generating units ahead of the expected peak winter demand.
Eskom announced on Sunday that there will again be no load shedding, after it broke its 12-day load shedding streak on Friday, following a confusing few hours of changing from stage 1 to 2 and back to stage 1 on Thursday evening.
Eskom said in a statement on Sunday it has adequate generating capacity to meet the demand.
It however warned that the power system continues to remain significantly constrained. “Eskom is using its emergency reserves, open-cycle gas turbines (OCGTs) and pumped storage schemes to augment capacity while the maintenance drive is underway,” it said, adding that the focus of the weekend’s maintenance programme is on reducing the backlog of power generating units that are currently offline due to technical faults.
Eskom said the long weekends are the ideal time for electricity consumers to live lightly. Monday, 27 April is Freedom Day and Friday, 1 May is Workers Day.
The power provider reiterated calls to reduce the load on the electricity grid by switching off geysers, air conditioners, pool pumps and all non-essential appliances throughout the day. “As the nights begin to get colder, we request electricity users to consider energy efficient ways of keeping warm,” it said.
“While there is expected to be sufficient power supply to meet demand for most part of the day, in winter the load increase could be up to 36 000MW particularly over the short sharp evening peak between 17:30 and 18:30. The increase is predominantly due to the use of electric heaters, geysers and cooking that takes place during this time,” Eskom said in its last System Status Bulletin.
Referring to its massive maintenance drive, Eskom said about 64% of its current installed base load power stations are past their midlife, requiring longer outages and extended restoration time than planned.
Midlife refurbishments or replacement being carried timeously reduces equipment failures from occurring, thus improving the ability to provide reliable supply to customers, it said.
Eskom said it would like to assure customers that load shedding is implemented as a necessary measure to protect the power system.
Estimated supply and demand of power in South Africa over the next three days:
Monday (27 April): The capacity available to meet that evening’s peak demand is 28 426 MW (including open cycle gas turbines) while demand is forecast at 30 564 MW.
Tuesday (28 April): The capacity available to meet that evening’s peak demand is 27 988 MW (including open cycle gas turbines) while demand is forecast at 32 010 MW.
Wednesday (29 April): The capacity available to meet that evening’s peak demand is 28 010 MW (including open cycle gas turbines) while demand is forecast at 31 988 MW.
Eskom shares these top saving tips at home:
Geyser – it guzzles 39% of your monthly energy usage. Switch it off to reduce your energy demand. Don’t forget to insulate the geyser and water pipes.
Shower – it uses less water than bathing and using less hot water means less work for the geyser. Use an energy efficient shower head since it uses less water.
Lighting – replace all your incandescent bulbs with energy saving Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) and switch off the lights in unoccupied rooms.
Standby electricity – don’t leave your TV, DVD player, etc. on stand-by mode, they still use up to 50% off their operating power. Rather switch them off at the power switch and don’t forget to unplug your cellphone charger after your phone has been charged or it will continue to draw power.
Refrigeration – close your fridge door quickly so it doesn’t use extra power to get back to its optimal cooling level.
Temperature control – keep the room temperature between 18°C - 23°C, this is known as the “golden zone”.