Stage 1 load shedding to start at 4pm

Cape Town - Eskom said it will cut 1 000 MW (stage 1) off the grid from 16:00 on Wednesday through its load shedding programme as it works to meet winter demand.

Plan load shedding: GridWatch

"This is due to increased electricity demand and a shortage of generation capacity resulting from technical faults at some of our power stations," Eskom said in a statement.

"Eskom would like to assure customers that load shedding is implemented as a necessary measure to protect the power system and to ensure that maintenance is carried out in order to guarantee that our supply of electricity can be maintained in the long term."

READ: There is a more than 50% chance that the country's energy grid will suffer a total collapse soon, energy analyst Ted Blom told Nersa on Wednesday.

Eskom said that "any unexpected changes on the vulnerable and constrained power system could lead to a change in the load shedding stage at short notice.

"As we are currently experiencing cold weather conditions across the country, we urge electricity users to consider energy efficient ways of keeping warm."

Tariff hike hearings

The state utility is currently attending public hearings with the national Energy Regulator (Nersa), where it hopes to get an additional tariff increase.

Acting Eskom CEO Brian Molefe told the public hearing on Tuesday that while Eskom had already been granted a 12.69% tariff increase for 2015/2016, Eskom desperately needed a further increase due to the new build delays as well as its ageing fleet.

He said open cycle gas turbines (OCGTs), which produced 2 400 MW to minimise the severity of load shedding, was a money burner that required R10.9bn per year. This contributed to the additional 6.43% tariff increase he was now requesting on top of the 12.69% increase.

Molefe said Eskom was also entering agreements for the short-term power procurement programme (STPPP) to add further generation capacity to help ease load shedding, which cost around R5.3bn per year. This contributed to the additional 3.15% tariff increase.

Then, Molefe said that if the environmental levy increase is gazetted, then it would need a 2.51% additional tariff increase as a “pass through of levy costs”.

The total new MYPD3 Selective Re-opener tariff increase would then total 24.78%.

Nersa will make a decision regarding the increase at the end of the month, but the implementation of the possible increase won’t take effect in July.

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