Eskom said South Africans saw the re-emergence of stage six power cuts this week after a deadly cold front led to icy conditions across the country, resulting in “power demand exceeding what was expected” on Monday.
“Cold weather is already driving up demand for electricity but cold weather was forecast and planning to meet demand was in place. On Monday, July 10, demand for electricity exceeded forecast demand,” the energy utility said in response to questions from Daily Maverick Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, prolonged high demand and failure of some generator units necessitated the implementation of higher phases of load shedding.”
The country is currently experiencing power outages in the fourth and sixth stages. It added that the higher phases of offloading had been implemented to balance electricity demand with supply, and also for Eskom to “begin replenishing depleted emergency reserves”.
In May, the power utility presented a worst-case scenario for the winter season and warned of possible phase seven and eight outages between June and August.
But the daily power outages lessened in the following weeks. This was largely because Eskom was doing less maintenance and due to lower demand in June. Read Ferial Hafagi’s five-slide guide here.
The return of the fourth and sixth phase blackouts this week came amid a brutal cold front that triggered on Monday Snowfall in Johannesburg For the first time in over a decade. Snowfall has also been reported in the northeastern parts of the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the mountainous areas of the Western Cape.
As the icing continues to be felt across the country, so has the return of daily power outages Parts of Johannesburg were subject to a 58-hour water outage for planned maintenance, making life miserable for the residents of South Africa’s largest city.
On Sunday, Electricity Minister Kgosincho Ramukjuba promised that the facility was prepared for the cold front that was fast approaching. He said the country “will not face the worst-case scenario”.
“We have exceeded our expectations in terms of the performance of the units and are more than confident that we should be able to survive the winter,” he said.
Twenty-four hours later, the grid swayed as demand soared and generation capacity plummeted. The country plunged into a phase four power outage.
In a statement just after 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Eskom announced that Phase 6 loads will be moved up from 2 p.m. to 5 a.m. Thursday, while Phase 4 will still apply from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. She said this would continue “until further notice”.
Eskom said the increase in daily power outages was caused by the loss of additional generation units overnight, heavy use of open-cycle gas turbines and the inability to replenish the levels of pumped storage dams.
to respond to Daily MaverickEskom told her Unplanned Power Loss Factor (UCLF) – or Unplanned Losses – 10,464 megawatts at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
She added that the power outage is in phase 8 – Although it is unlikely – There is a possibility this winter.
“High demand for electricity for the rest of the winter will be determined largely by how cold weather plays out across the country in the coming weeks and what generation capacity is available when that happens. Although less likely, given the current performance of the Eskom generation fleet, no Stage 8 load shedding is still possible this winter.
“During the warmer period, phase 3 to phase 4 decoupling is expected, while cooler periods may increase this. If the cold snap coincides with multiple generator failures, higher phases of load offloading may be necessary for a short period,” the utility said.
Eskom stream The Energy Availability Factor (EAF) – the power generation fleet available relative to installed capacity – is 57.73%.
30 days and counting
Last year was the most The year of intense Aries shedding registered – A record likely to be surpassed in 2023. South Africa Experience 166 hours of load shedding in Stage 6 last year. This has more than tripled in 2023 so far, with 729 hours (or 30 days and nine hours) of load shedding from Stage 6 through June 27.
To track the days and stages of blackouts in South Africa, see The Outlier here. DM