18GW in unplanned breakdowns cripple Eskom

Just a day after South Africa went to the polls in local government elections, Eskom has again said it will implement rolling power cuts — and they will likely last until the weekend.

After a brief respite over the weekend and on Monday’s election day public holiday, Eskom will again implement load shedding — from 4pm on Tuesday until at least 5am on Wednesday. This comes after the utility imposed stage-4 blackouts last week.

Eskom said earlier in the day that the system was “severely constrained”. Further breakdowns — rising to an unprecedented 17.9GW of capacity — have caused the latest bout of cuts. Earlier on Tuesday, Eskom said 15.9GW was out on breakdowns, meaning the situation deteriorated by 2GB in a matter of hours.

At almost 18GW, the breakdowns are at what are likely their highest ever, energy expert Chris Yelland said on Twitter. Eskom also appears to have brought units that were down for planned maintenance back online to prevent a further worsening of the power cuts.

“This afternoon, a generation unit at Kusile power station tripped, adding to the constraints,” the utility said in a statement. “A unit each at Matimba and Arnot power stations failed to return to service as previously anticipated.”

Furthermore, the constraints are expected to last until at least the end of the week, which “may require the load shedding to be extended”. Eskom said it making extensive use of emergency generation resources — mainly, burning expensive diesel.   (c) 2021 NewsCentral Media

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