South Africa’s state-owned power utility, Eskom, has announced a planned suspension of load-shedding from 22:00 on Thursday until 16:00 on Monday, providing a welcome respite for the country. This marks the first time since September 2022 that South Africa will have experienced three continuous days without power cuts. The decision is attributed to Eskom’s improved power generation and lower weekend energy demand.
Good News for Eskom Load-Shedding
Limited Load-Shedding-Free Days in 2023
Load-shedding has been a persistent issue in South Africa in 2023, with very few days being completely free from power cuts. Notably, the country experienced a load-shedding-free day on March 21, followed by two days in October: the 1st and the 15th.
These limited load-shedding-free days have been the result of the challenging energy situation in the country.
Improvements in Generation and Scheduled Maintenance
Eskom has managed to reduce its breakdowns to 12,925 MW, and scheduled maintenance stands at 4,889 MW of generation capacity. These improvements have contributed to Eskom’s ability to temporarily suspend load-shedding during the weekend.
Monitoring Energy Shortfalls and Upcoming Update
While Eskom had a 461 MW shortfall in its most recently released evening peak statistics, no emergency reserves were used.
Eskom is closely monitoring the situation and plans to provide an update on Sunday afternoon regarding the continuation of load-shedding.
Kusile Power Station’s Role
Eskom’s ability to suspend load-shedding is linked to improvements in its power generation, with Kusile power station playing a crucial role.
Kusile’s units 3 and 4 became operational in September, and unit 1 was brought online on October 16, 2023. Each of these units can generate 800 MW, contributing significantly to the grid’s capacity.
Kusile’s units 1, 2, and 3 were offline for almost a year due to a structural issue in the flue duct, which was caused by problems in the station’s emission control systems and human errors. Their return is seen as a positive step in reducing and ultimately ending load-shedding.
Steady Progress to Relieve Load-Shedding
Eskom’s ongoing efforts to improve generation, address maintenance needs, and introduce new capacity play a crucial role in reducing load-shedding in South Africa.
The suspension of power cuts for the upcoming weekend is seen as a sign of progress in this regard. Eskom is determined to stabilize the energy situation and ensure a more reliable power supply for the nation.