Eskom suspends loadshedding as grid is “exceeding expectations”

  • Eskom has suspended loadshedding until 16:00 this afternoon.
  • Loadshedding is set to decrease to Stage 1 on Thursday.
  • Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa says that Eskom is routinely exceeding demand even though power cuts persist.

Today near midday, Eskom announced that it is suspending loadshedding until 16:00 this afternoon. The company says that due to sufficient generation available, it will only implement Stage 2 power cuts after 16:00 until 05:00 on Thursday morning.

This will be followed by Stage 1 for most of Thursday until 16:00 when Eskom says it will make a further communication. With 2023 being the year with the most rotational power cuts in South African history, Eskom has started 2024 on a better foot. We have yet to see stages of cuts above Stage 4 since the year began.

According to Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa this is due to continued improvement of South Africa’s electricity system. SA News reports that the minister was briefing the media on Tuesday on the state of the Energy Action Plan originally invented to put a stop to loadshedding once and for all.

“We have really turned the corner,” the minister began, “I’m not suggesting that we have ended load shedding. I’m simply saying that we can see that there’s light at the end of the tunnel and this is not an oncoming train but it’s a system whose health continues to improve and improve at levels that even exceeded our projections and expectations.”

Ramokgopa said that over the past two weeks, available capacity has continued to exceed peak demand even though loadshedding continues to be implemented across the nation. “Loadshedding” is the politically spun term for power blackouts that are due to Eskom not being able to generate enough electricity to meet the demand of South Africans. Rather than risk a grid-wide collapse, the utility simply rotates its available generation to some regions instead of others.

The minister said that loadshedding persists because at least 3 000MW of capacity is currently being drawn from the highly expensive operation of open cycle gas turbines (OCGTs) that run on diesel. Additionally, planned maintenance is also still quite high, with about 8 000 to 9 000MW being cut due to repairs.

“Even with that scale of planned maintenance, we still have a situation where we are able to keep load shedding at the levels of the worst, Stage 3 [or] oscillating between no load shedding to Stage 3,” he said on Tuesday.

“The net message that I am conveying is that the system continues to improve. It has exceeded our expectations if the unit measure of the expectation is the unplanned capacity loss factor of 14 500MW. We are way below that by about 1 000MW, despite the fact that planned maintenance is sitting at 8 337MW,” Ramokgopa concluded.

[Image – Photo by Jack Carter on Unsplash]


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