Stage 1 load shedding could be implemented on Friday 12
April, says flummoxed power utility, Eskom.
While the national power supplier managed to stave off load shedding for most of the week, Thursday afternoon brought with it an ominous message; warnings of possible blackouts. Luckily for South Africans, Eskom was able to avert a potential disaster. The high-risk warning has, however, been kept in place for the start of the weekend.
A sudden loss of vital generating units, shortly after
midday on Thursday, sent the power utility into brief tailspin. Load shedding
was avoided, not because these units were resuscitated, but because expected
demand remained relatively low into the evening.
Eskom load shedding, Friday 12 April
Date: 11 April 2019
— Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA) April 11, 2019
As South Africa’s winter season approaches, the demand for electricity
greatly increases. Eskom, which has struggled to keep the lights on this year,
has promised South Africans an improvement in operational capacity. These
assurances have been echoed by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, who recently
deployed a Technical Review Team to pull Eskom out of the mud.
The contingency plan, developed by Eskom stakeholders and
intervention agencies, is centred on redeveloping a competent maintenance
programme, procuring quality coal and renovating antiquated infrastructure.
According to Eskom, all of the above will reduce the risk of
load shedding. Still, the risk of Stage 1 load shedding is an ever-present
danger. Eskom explained:
“As indicated in the Winter Plan, there is a risk of stage 1 rotational load shedding over the next few months. However, load shedding will only be implemented if absolutely necessary.”
Following yesterday’s announcement, Eskom added that extra
energy, generated by wind power plants, has been effective in supplementing the
gird and has eased the burden of over-demand.
Eskom has reiterated its call for citizens to use electricity sparingly.
To find out when your area will be affected by blackouts, here’s how to check your daily load shedding schedule.