Home South African Failure of cluster of units blamed for Stage 3 power outages

Failure of cluster of units blamed for Stage 3 power outages

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Eskom introduced Stage 3 load shedding on Sunday, instead of continuing with Stage 1 as previously communicated, due to the shortage of generation capacity and the need to manage emergency reserves.

File picture: Karen Sandison

POWER utility Eskom on Sunday morning introduced Stage 3 load shedding, which remained in force until 5am on Monday, due to the shortage of generation capacity and the need to manage emergency reserves.

Stage 2 load shedding is being implemented until 4pm, followed by Stage 3 until 5am on Tuesday.

“Stages 1 and 3 will alternate in the morning and afternoon from Tuesday until Wednesday,” Eskom added.

The utility said that unplanned outages were at 16,264MW of generating capacity including delays at Lethabo power station. The capacity out of service for planned maintenance was 6,606MW.

Speaking during his update on the implementation of the Energy Action Plan on Sunday, the Minister in the Presidency responsible for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, said the performance of the grid in the past two weeks had deteriorated.

“Prior to the past two weeks, the unplanned capacity loss factor – the rate at which units were failing was much better – we were averaging less than 15,000MW, we were doing exceptionally well. That is why we did not have load shedding for eight days. In instances, when we had load shedding during that period it was not as intense as now.

“Part of the deterioration is that we have had a significant failure of a cluster of units in Eskom.”

He said from November 13 to 17, the available capacity was 26,499MW, which was lower than what it was in May.

He added that as a result of the failure of units, there had been a loss of 2,700MW and this had led to the burning of diesel at the Open Cycle Gas Turbines.

“We have avoided this (burning of diesel) over the past five weeks.

“We were burning less diesel as we wanted to ensure that we rely on the units on their own to give us the megawatts required.

“That is why we are saying we want to build up the emergency reserves because we depleted it.”

He said that five of the units were expected to return by Sunday night and two more on Monday.

Meanwhile, Eskom announced the return of Unit 1 at Koeberg Power Station to the grid on Saturday.

It said this came after the original three steam generators were successfully replaced by new steam generators.

“The replacement of steam generators is a huge milestone in the life of Koeberg as it was identified by Eskom as a prerequisite for the extension of the operating licence for Koeberg beyond its original design life of 40 years.

“Eskom has already submitted a licence application to the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) for Koeberg’s operating life extension by an additional 20 years, which is being assessed by the NNR.”

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