Stage 3 load shedding will continue until Monday 17 February as a result of Eskom’s plant breakdowns and dire lack of diesel reserves.
Just days after President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on issues facing the embattled state owned power producer, noting that South Africa’s energy crisis could not be fixed overnight, Eskom has been forced to institute rotational load shedding as a means of avoiding a nationwide blackout.
After a particularly grim 2019, which saw Eskom’s operational capacity grind to a halt on more than one occasion, the new year has proven to be even more disastrous, with load shedding schedules dominating most days of the week. In the past week alone, South Africa was only spared three days of load shedding; ironically, this brief reprieve coincided with Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Andre de Ruyter teased at SONA as ‘Mr Load Shedding’
Andre de Ruyter, Eskom’s new CEO, who began his tenure in January, graced the carpet at SONA but was left red-faced when heckled by others in attendance. De Ruyter, who has warned South Africa to brace for 18 months of power disruptions while Eskom attends to its aging infrastructure, was called ‘Mr Load Shedding’ as he made his way into the halls of the National Assembly on Thursday evening.
On Friday night, Eskom announced that it would implement Stage 2 load shedding, owing to a loss in generation capacity. On Saturday morning, Eskom ramped it up to Stage 3, noting:
Eskom load shedding on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 February
Date: 15 February 2020
Stage 3 rotational loadshedding will be implemented from 09:00 today until 05:00 on Monday @SABCNewsOnline @IOL @eNCA @ewnupdates @TimesLIVE @News24 @TheCitizen_News @Moneyweb @TheSAnews @SAgovnews @SaturdayStar @SowetanLIVE pic.twitter.com/PJoCtc8n3Z
— Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA) February 15, 2020
Eskom added that it had depleted its diesel reserves, used to operate open cycle gas turbines which supplement power supply in times of constrained capacity, and that ‘unplanned outages or breakdowns’ were hovering around 10 612MW.
The beleaguered utility, which has been highlighted as the single greatest threat to South Africa’s economic prospects, apologised to citizens for the ‘short notice’ and reaffirmed that load shedding was a ‘controlled process’ intended to ensure optimal functionality of the grid during times of severe pressure.
Eskom added that it would keep South Africans updated on the relevant load shedding schedules should the grid experience any further turbulence.
Source: The South African