Eskom fails to keep 'no winter load shedding' promise

JUNE 10, 2015

Whatever happened to Eskom’s bold announcement at the end of May that there would not be load shedding in during the winter months? On Wednesday morning, the power utility warned again that there was a medium chance of load shedding in the morning and a high probability in the evening.

South Africans will then experience load shedding for the fourth consecutive day since Sunday when the power utility implemented Stage 1 load shedding after ten straight days of no load shedding – an unprecedented feat in recent months.

On Monday afternoon Eskom implemented Stage 1 load shedding which was escalated to Stage 2 within an hour and a half. On Tuesday, it also implemented Stage 1 load shedding.

The power utility cited a shortage of generating capacity "as several units are currently out of service due to maintenance".

"Eskom would like to assure customers that load shedding is implemented as a necessary measure to protect the power system. Any additional changes on the already constrained power system could lead to a change in the stage of load shedding at short notice," the utility said.

But on May 29, in a series of tweets, Eskom CEO Brain Molefe said that the amount of work done during Summer had limited the need for the state-owned parastatal to introduce rolling blackouts, adding that Unit One of the Koeberg Nuclear Plant, which had been out of action since February, was expected to resume operations.

The 900MW unit, which was fired up on June 3 was expected to help to further stabilise the power system ahead of the start of the cold peak periods this winter.

Molefe’s announcement also came when a WhatsApp message made rounds claiming that load shedding would take place on a daily basis from 06h00-10h00 and again from 17h00-21h00 during the winter months.

The power utility vehemently denied the message and branded it a hoax.

While the message was exaggerated, Eskom have not kept to their promise either…

Eskom has called on consumers to continue to reduce their electricity usage especially during the peak periods from 6am to 10am and 5pm to 9pm.