Eskom CEO André de Ruyter has warned that load shedding may continue over the next few days as the heavy rainfall and flooding in KwaZulu-Natal continues to ravage critical infrastructure affecting the country.
ESKOM CEO André de Ruyter has warned that load shedding may continue over the next few days as the heavy rainfall and flooding in KwaZulu-Natal continues to ravage critical infrastructure affecting the country.
The power utility on Tuesday announced it would be implementing Stage 2 load shedding from 5pm until 5am on Wednesday.
This came hours after it suspended load shedding at 5am on Tuesday morning.
Addressing the media, De Ruyter said things were “very dynamic” as they were dealing with an emergency situation in KwaZulu-Natal.
At least 20 people have lost their lives, and scores more are missing as heavy rains continue to lash KwaZulu-Natal.
Rain is expected for most of Tuesday. The soil is already saturated, and some drainage systems are already full.
De Ruyter said that in a number of instances, Eskom has to wait for the flood waters to subside before their teams can assess and start restoring supply of electricity.
“We have to also be extremely careful with our staff and ensure that water and electricity do not mix. As floods are still in process, we are trying to do damage assessment and see how we can restore power as soon as possible but bearing in mind that safety of our crew and customers are of paramount importance,” De Ruyter said.
He said the heavy rain contributed to Eskom’s challenges as significant debris has flowed into the turbines in Drakensberg.
De Ruyter added that they have “put in a lot of effort” to ensure the rain would not affect the coal supply issues that have previously plagued the utility.
The power utility did however confirm that they do expect load shedding through the Winter season, mainly based on their scenario planning and historic experience.
“We do deal with scenario planning and when we do our system update in the next couple of weeks, we will again publish scenarios based on the level of unplanned load losses. It is very difficult to anticipate and so it is really difficult to give a firm outlook on load shedding.
“Given the maintenance backlog that we are working hard to address, there remains a risk of load shedding,” De Ruyter said.
He added that the power utility will scale back on planned maintenance as it usually does during the Winter season, due to electricity consumption being higher.
Earlier in the day, Eskom issued an urgent statement informing the country that Stage 2 load shedding would be implemented again from 5pm on Tuesday evening.
“Eskom would like to inform the public that this constrained supply situation will persist throughout the week, with the possibility that more load shedding is likely to be implemented should the generation capacity deteriorate further,” it said.