Eskom, load shedding, and the total grid collapse message causing panic

Eskom loadshedding Stage 2 South Africa

Eskom issued a statement on Tuesday warning against a viral message seeking to cause panic doing the rounds.

The viral message alleged Eskom was on the brink of total collapse.

In the voice note a man who claimed to be an Old Mutual employee alleged a total grid collapse and warned citizens to expect it.

The unknown employee reportedly claimed that President Cyril Ramaphosa would plan to declare a national state of disaster.

Eskom quickly took to social media warning against the irresponsible message claiming it’s intent was to cause panic with no basis.

Old Mutual followed suit to distance itself from the unverified message warning citizens to be cautious of fake news.

“Eskom is aware of a viral message seeking to cause panic doing the rounds purporting to be from the chairman of Old Mutual. We have alerted the company. There is no basis to the recording.”

While Eskom rebuked the statement, the power utility has been faced with recurring infrastructure challenges.

The power utility has expressed that rolling blackouts could last for another 6 to 12 months.

Eskom has been buckling to deliver nationwide power due to high levels of breakdowns and depletion of its emergency reserves.

Various stages of have been implemented with stage 5 implemented at times due to recurring infrastructure issues.

With no current solution for rolling blackouts, Eskom has warned of prolonged load shedding as major capital projects and repairs reduced available capacity.

In a statement Eskom said: “Starting over the next few weeks, Eskom will embark on some major capital investment projects and major repairs that carry significant risk and that will serve to further increase the implementation of load shedding.

“These risk factors will remove more than 2 300MW of generating capacity from the system. Eskom cautions the public to anticipate the increased risk of loadshedding until these problems are resolved over the next six to 12 months.”

“Of serious concern is the high levels of unplanned outages, which contributed to the 155 days of loadshedding experienced since January. To limit the stages of loadshedding, Eskom had to heavily rely on the extensive use of open-cycle gas turbines (OCGTs), burning millions of litres of diesel.”

The power utility continued to state: “The 23 October 2022 duct (chimney) structural collapse that has shut down Unit 1 of the Kusile Power Station; and the decision to delay the return to service of Units 2 and 3 as a precautionary measure, has inflicted another serious blow to Eskom’s efforts to improve the availability of electricity generation capacity and to reduce the implementation of load shedding.”

Eskom continues to experience challenges in terms of its generation operations, especially in the coal generation side of the business.

“The high levels of planned maintenance, impacted by a high rate of breakdowns, contributed to the low energy availability factor (EAF).

The voice is irresponsible, with not base.

Eskom should note that if no results a put forward, panic spreads uncontrolled as frustrated citizens look for plausible answers to an issue which threatens jobs, financial security and overall economy.

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Gopolang Moloko
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