'Signs are encouraging' load shedding will be reduced - Eskom

Eskom will implement Stage 2 load shedding on Friday, as strain on the national grid improves and “signs are encouraging” that there will be reduced rotational power cuts as available generating capacity improves, according to Eskom spokesperson Andrew Etzinger.

Stage 2 will be implemented between 09:00 and 23:00 on Friday. 

This is the first time in almost a week that Eskom will not implement Stage 4 cuts,  which removes up to 4 000 MW from the grid.

Etzinger told Fin24 one of the reasons for the improvement is that a major diesel shipment arrived on Thursday in the Western Cape. Diesel is used as an emergency measure to power open cycle gas turbines when coal generating units are down.

A total of 13 million litres are being transferred, and the process is still underway, said Etzinger. Eskom was in urgent talks with state-owned oil company Petro SA earlier this week to ensure an accelerated offloading of the shipment.

The power utility had been left with virtually no diesel stocks to run the emergency open cycle gas turbines.

Mozambique partly restored

Etzinger said one of the two transmission lines from the Cahora Bassa hydroelectric dam in Mozambique had also been restored, returning 660 MW to the system. 

Mozambique supplies South Africa with 1 150 MW of electricity. Infrastructure was badly damaged in last week’s Tropical Cyclone Idai which is estimated to have killed more than 1 000 people in the region.

Etzinger said work to restore the second transmission line from Cahora Bassa will take longer.

He added that plant performance has also improved, reducing the pressure on the national grid.

At least eight boiler tube leaks were being fixed earlier this week, removing several generating units from the system.

Earlier on Thursday at the 25th commemoration of the Sharpeville massacre in Vereeniging, Gauteng, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the electricity crisis would be overcome, just like apartheid.

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