Load shedding risk for Sunday as Eskom warns of vulnerable system

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Eskom warned that unplanned breakdowns could result in load shedding at short notice on Sunday.

This is attributed to a vulnerable system, with generating plants performing at very low levels of reliability.

"With unplanned breakdowns at 9 550MW as at 08h00, the probability of load shedding remains, but will only be implemented if absolutely necessary," Eskom said in a statement.

"We continue to replenish diesel for our open cycle gas turbines and to increase water levels at the pumped storage schemes over the weekend."

The power utility added that its Emergency Response Command Centre is monitoring the system closely.

"Eskom wishes to remind customers that any unexpected shift, such as additional unplanned breakdowns, could result in load shedding at short notice.'

Eskom urged customers to assist by helping to reduce demand by using electricity sparingly:

  • Set air-conditioners’ average temperature at 23ºC
  • Switch off your geysers over peak periods
  • Use the cold water tap rather than using the geyser every time
  • Set your swimming pool pump cycle to run twice a day, three hours at a time for optimal energy use
  • At the end of the day, turn off computers, copiers, printers and fax machines at the switch. Avoid stand-by or sleep mode.

Eskom Chairperson Jabu Mabuza warned that municipal debt owed to Eskom could approach R30bn by the end of the year, reported Fin24 on Thursday.

Municipal arrear debt increased by R5.2bn from March 2019 to R25.1bn as at the end of September, Eskom's interim results shows.

Mabuza expressed concern, especially because the growing debt is owed by new debtors.

"It is not the same debtors who are owing more. The need for them to pay for services has been taken away because they continue to see their neighbours get services even when they don't pay," Mabuza said.

However, he said that Eskom will do whatever it can to solve the situation, including cutting off electricity supply and the attachment of assets, such as mayoral cars to pay off the debt.

Eskom reported a R1.3bn net profit for the first half of the year, but anticipates a R20bn full-year loss.

In November, Eskom appointed Andre de Ruyter as the permanent CEO. His appointment follows the resignation of Phakamani Hadebe in July, who quit only after 16 months in the job.

De Ruyter will take on his new role in mid-January 2020.

 - Compiled by Adiel Ismail

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