Eskom sets timeframe for end of Stage 6

  • Generating head at Eskom Bheki Nxumalo told the media on Tuesday that it is likely Stage 6 will end by the end of the week.
  • Generating units currently offline would be returned as the week progressed, meaning the stages would be decreased.
  • Electricity Minister Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said that sweeping breakdowns being experienced is due to a lag in maintenance across Eskom’s fleet.

Stage 6 loadshedding reared its ugly head again on Monday evening, and according to Eskom’s latest power alert, it is here to stay “until further notice.” The utility has been struggling with its generation in the last two weeks amid sustained breakdowns across its fleet of power stations.

However, the implementation of Stage 6 outages comes just a few weeks after Minister of Electricity Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa announced that Eskom was hitting an energy availability factor of 60 percent, and was close to reaching 30 000MW electricity. It was Stage 2 during the time of the announcement.


Stage 6 loadshedding will be implemented from 05:00 on Tuesday until further notice— Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA) September 4, 2023

Breakdowns across Eskom’s fleet have removed 16 210MW from the grid, with an additional 5 894MW removed due to maintenance. Units at Lethabo, Matla, Kriel, Medupi, Hendrina and Tutuka power stations are offline as of Monday evening, necessitating Stage 6 cuts due to repairs.

Minister Ramogkopa is in Nairobi, Kenya for the Inaugural Africa Climate Summit event. He called in via Zoom earlier today to brief the media on the state of Eskom.

“We have taken a view that part of the reason why we are where we are as a country as relation to the deterioration of generation capacity is that we have not been sticking to planned maintenance, we have not been sticking to philosophy maintenance and that also had to do with the fact that Eskom’s balance sheet was severely compromised – there were little resources to invest on the maintenance side,” explained Ramogkopa.

“Over a period of time the generating units had been exploited without the necessary maintenance, planned maintenance, and that has caught up with us.”

Eskom slowed down its maintenance during the winter months of June, July and August in order to stave off the risk of Stage 8 loadshedding. In August Ramogkopa said that Eskom would start increasing the amount of routine maintenance which would offset generation availability gains.

During the call, Eskom’s head of generation Bheki Nxumalo gave some more insight into the situation unfolding at South Africa’s power utility. He added that he does believe Stage 6 will not have to be implemented for more than the rest of this week.

“Towards the end of the week, I am confident that we will be able to return to lower stages. Then we will start focusing on our normal maintenance,” he told the media, adding that Eskom would begin going down to lower stages from there.

Nxumalo also explained that the offline generating units would be returning to service as the week progressed. A few day-long delays are due to certain generating units being left offline to cool down so that operators can access them safely.

[Image – Photo by Rodion Kutsaiev on Unsplash]


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