Eskom to keep the lights on despite high electricity usage over cold snap

JULY 26, 2016

With the current cold snap gripping the country, Eskom is confident that it will be able to keep the lights on as cold weather conditions persist.

“Electricity demand is expected to rise sharply over the next few days due to the cold weather conditions and Eskom has adequate power supply to meet the demand. Yesterday, our month-to-date energy availability factor was recorded at 80.78%, in line with our target,” said Eskom on Tuesday.

On Monday, the South African Weather Service said severe thunderstorms with possible hail and damaging winds are expected over the central parts of the Free State, Gauteng, as well as the central and eastern parts of the North West province over the course of two days. Some parts of the country are covered in snow.

Despite the cold weather, Eskom has not implemented load shedding in over 11 months. Customers in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal may be experiencing outages due to the inclement weather conditions.

“Several roads were closed, which has prevented staff from accessing some of the networks. Eskom personnel have been working around the clock to determine the extent of the damage and to bring the lines back to service in the accessible areas. Customers in the affected areas are advised to treat all installations as live for safety reasons,” said Eskom.

Eskom has not used its open cycle gas turbines (OCGT) for the past 25 days. The OCGT load factor year-to-date is 0.27%, against a target of 2%, with no diesel usage over the past weekend.

This equates to a total cost of R93.35 million this financial year against a budget of R963.85 million.

The power utility urged customers across the country to continue to use electricity efficiently in order to reduce pressure on the power grid.

Meanwhile, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has urged motorists and public transport drivers to be cautious on the roads as unfavourable weather conditions are set to spread throughout the country.

Traveling was delayed in coastal provinces of KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Western Cape following snow fall on Monday.

Multiple collisions were also reported in many parts of the provinces.

The South African Weather Services reported that thunderstorms and rainy conditions are expected to spread inland from Tuesday to Thursday.

Severe thunderstorms with hail and heavy downpours were also predicted over Gauteng in the coming days.

The RMTC warned motorists that there may be delays on the roads as a result of rainy weather, which generally tends to affect traffic lights and visibility.

“Motorists are urged to keep their lights on, increase the following distances and reduce speed during wet weather conditions. It would advisable for those wishing to be on time for work to travel earlier than usual to avoid delays.

“Motorists should also avoid driving during thunderstorms and heavy downpours as roads become slippery and visibility becomes poor,” the RTMC warned. 

– SAnews.gov.za