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South Africa Pays a High Price for Eskom’s Key Tool to Stop Stage 8 Load Shedding

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South Africa Pays a High Price for Eskom’s Key Tool to Stop Stage 8 Load Shedding

South Africa Pays a High Price for Eskom’s Key Tool to Stop Stage 8 Load Shedding. The economy is suffering from Eskom’s strategy to lower load shedding intensity by curtailing load.

Eskom often curtailed power to South Africa’s major power consumers before Winter to prevent the country from “technically” reaching stages 7 and 8.

Thus, the public only experienced load shedding up to stage 6.

South Africa Pays a High Price for Eskom’s Key Tool to Stop Stage 8 Load Shedding

The load curtailment process involves Eskom asking big power users directly to reduce their power consumption in stages, just as load shedding does:

  • Stage 1 and stage 2: companies are required to reduce 10% of their power consumption

  • Stage 3: companies are required to reduce 15% of their power consumption

  • Stage 4: companies are required to reduce 20% of their power consumption

Over 20 companies are members of the Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG), including Anglo American, Sibanye Stillwater, Thungela, and others. They consume over 40% of the country’s power.

The public may benefit from load curtailment in the short term, but it can be devastating to the economy in the long run.

South Africa’s GDP is accounted for by EIUG members, and any changes to their operations can significantly affect productivity.

Anglo troubles

Anglo American Platinum saw its headline earnings drop by 71% for the six months ending 30 June 2023, and its dividend was reduced 85% to 1,200 cents (H1 2022: 8,100 cents).

A significant reduction in dollar metal basket prices, increased load curtailments, and a growing global macroeconomic apprehension of the future led to Amplats experiencing a difficult operating environment.

Following the company’s rebuild, maintenance, asset integrity work, and load curtailment, its refined production declined by 13% due to ramp-up at its Polokwane smelter.

Approximately 65,000 Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) ounces were deferred due to the load curtailment, according to the world’s largest primary producer of platinum.

While large end-users like mining and processing face ‘load curtailment’, the impact of this can be mitigated through careful planning, such as scheduling maintenance periods,” the report said.

In addition, when shutdowns are unavoidable, they often reduce power at the processing stage of the supply chain, rather than at mining operations. This results in the stockpiling of ore or concentrate for processing in the future.”

A 19% decline was also recorded in refined platinum production and a 3% decline in refined palladium production.

Eskom Official 

Refined Production from Operations H1 2022 (ounces) H1 2023 (ounces) Change
PGMs 1,959,100 1,699,800 -13%
Platinum 934,500 755,400 -19%
Palladium 602,900 583,100 -3%

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Eskom Media Today

Load Shedding Reduced to Stage 1: In Effect Until Saturday Afternoon

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Load Shedding Reduced to Stage 1: In Effect Until Saturday Afternoon

Power utility Eskom has initiated Stage 3 load shedding starting from 4 pm and continuing until 5 am. This load shedding pattern will be followed by Stage 1 and 2 power cuts. The breakdown of certain generating units has necessitated these power cuts.

Load Shedding Reduced to Stage 1: In Effect Until Saturday Afternoon

In the last 24 hours, one generating unit each from Camden, Majuba, and Medupi power stations, along with two generating units at Arnot power station, were taken offline for necessary repairs.

Simultaneously, two generating units at Kriel power station have been restored to service.

Eskom’s teams are diligently working to expedite the return of additional generating units to active service.

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