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Eskom issues alert for ‘severely constrained’ system

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Six generation units suffered trips on Monday, while the return to service of three others has been delayed

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EMBATTLED power utility Eskom on Monday night alerted customers that its generation system was “severely constrained” and asked that electricity usage be reduced. 

“Eskom requests the public to reduce electricity usage as the power generation system is severely constrained this evening. Today six generation units suffered trips, while the return to service of three others has been delayed,” the company said via a statement. 

“One of the six units that tripped today, at the Majuba power station, has since been returned to service. Eskom teams are hard at work trying to return these units to service.”

Eskom said a generation unit at each of its Majuba, Tutuka, Hendrina and Duvha power stations had tripped. “The return to service of a generation unit each at the Matla, Kendal and Tutuka power stations have been delayed.”

Any additional breakdowns would compromise Eskom’s ability to supply the country through the peak demand period of 5pm to 9pm, it said, adding that the constrained supply could persist “for the next few days”.

“We urge the public’s co-operation in managing demand in order to help us supply the country’s demand through the peak periods.”

Eskom is battling a debt mountain of more than R450 billion and a maintenance backlog on its ageing infrastructure that saw the company resume load shedding earlier this month after staving off scheduled blackouts for the first three months of the country’s Covid-19 lockdown.

CEO Andre de Ruyter conceded recently that the company’s target of 2022 for overhauling its operational model by unbundling its generation, transmission and distribution capabilities was looking doubtful, partly given the complexity of spreading the debt burden in a manner acceptable to creditors.

– African News Agency (ANA)