South Africans haven’t been subjected to loadshedding for just over five weeks now, but that might change in the next couple of days.
While Eskom has been doing a pretty good job of keeping the lights on, it warned yesterday that due to maintenance work at the Cahora Bassa hydroelectric plant in Mozambique, South Africa’s power system will be tight.
On a good day SA gets about 1 500 MW from the plant, but the maintenance work will leave only 650 MW coming into South Africa on a daily basis.
This will naturally put the national system under a lot of strain, as the maintenance work is only expected to be completed in a week’s time.
As when loadshedding was a daily occurrence, the national grid will be most vulnerable to loadshedding during the peak evening hours during the week.
The power utility does, however, have a backup plan.
“Eskom will utilise its emergency reserves to augment the capacity shortfall as a result of this planned outage.”
To put into perspective how much of a loss of 850 MW is electricity is, when Eskom embarked on its “maintenance festival” back in July, it only had 1 500MW of breathing room should something have gone wrong.
With the days getting steadily hotter, citizens will no doubt start turning on power-hungry air conditioners and the like.
The warning that the maintenance work could affect power supply in South Africa comes a week after Eskom announced that loadshedding will be stopped until April next year.