It feels like it wAs only the day before yesterday when Eskom pushed South Africa to Stage 5 load shedding after a turbulent Easter weekend. If you thought things couldn’t get any worse… where have you been for the last few years?
Following yet another unforeseen breakdown of a generating unit at Medupi power station, the state-owned power utility has sent the country into Stage 6 load shedding “until further notice”.
Eskom doing Eskom things
We guess that means the already-worrying schedule for the rest of the week (that EskoM published only yesterday) is already outdated. A day of Stage 5 load shedding seems almost wonderful in comparison… almost.
The country’s peak demand reached 31,366MW yesterday evening, according to a note from someone’s smartphone that the utility tweeted. We don’t know which is worse, the fact that we were already teetering on the edge of StAge 6 before the breakdown or the font.
Feedback from Evening Peak
12 April 2023 pic.twitter.com/JhLdC3okUj
— Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA) April 12, 2023
When it announced the breakdown, Eskom didn’t speciFy exactly how much generating capacity was lost. But in the now-outdated schedule posted earlier in the day, it said breakdowns accounted for 16,772MW of lost capacity. That already exceeds the 15,000MW forecast for the week.
Judging from all the red blocks in the latest weekly system status report, we’re in for a very dark, cold winter. DurIng a two-hour media briefing last week, Electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa warned that Eskom expects a generation capacity deficit of around 8,000MW – 10,000MW this winter.
While he didn’t explicitly say we should brace for Stage 10, a stage of load shedding is defined by the utility shedding up to 1,000MW of power across the country. Therefore, a loss of 8,000MW – 10,000MW would mean an effective Stage 8 – 10. Not a pleasant thought. There’s always a chance things could improve, however unlikely iT might seem.