Eskom plans to keep load shedding between stages 3 and 4 this week, that’s if nothing changes.
The power utility escalated load shedding to around stage 6 last week due to technical failures in several of its generating units Tutuka, Kriel, Duvha and Kendal power stations..
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This week, Eskom proposes stage 4 load shedding between 4 pm and 5 am with a pattern of between stages 3 and 4 being repeated.
Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa who is on a tight time crunch to produce results before the country hits winter has indicated a no end to rolling blackouts.
The severe and now frequent outages are still here with “no sign of an end” the, minister has said.
Exempting certain areas of the country from blackouts
Speaking at an ANC executive committee meeting on April 21, Ramokgopa indicated a six month plan for rolling blackouts with interventions such as relying on diesel for emergency generators and exempting certain areas of the country from blackouts.
Won’t people flock to the areas that are exempt from load shedding in an effort to survive the frequent bursts if not increasing hours with no power?
Remedying certain deficiencies at some power stations falls part of the ministers plan for the future.
These plans include putting an end to rolling blackouts and an indication that government wants to keep the lights on for major industries.
Industries such as hospitals, police stations, and the communications infrastructure will most likely fall on to the exempt list.
About R900 billion a day is what Eskom Stage 6 costs the country according to the DA’s latest count, following a breakdown of a generation unit at Medupi Power Station which necessitated Stage 6 load shedding on last week Wednesday.
Eskom said an update would be provided and that the implemented Stage 6 would shift back to stage 5 on Thursday.
Things could get worse according to Ramokgopa who during a site inspection of a collapsed electric pylon in Pretoria, said Winter would prove a challenge in terms of load shedding.
“Exceptionally difficult winter,” were the words used by the minister which signals a near possibility for higher stages in load shedding.
It could get worse considering Summer conditions leave a 6 000 MW deficit while Winter conditions could peak up to 37 000 megawatts in deficit, according to Ramokgopa’s estimates.
Winter spells many challenges for Eskom’s already buckling electricity supply as heaters, geyser, stoves including other electric appliances increase in usage.
Colder weather pushes demand for power, and stage 6 or higher is the national power utility attempt to curve away from a total grid collapse.