Eskom lifts load-shedding a day early

Eskom will suspend load-shedding on Friday morning, a day earlier than anticipated, after an improvement to the power utility’s generation capacity.

André de Ruyter, chief executive of the ailing parastatal, made the announcement during a media briefing on Thursday morning. Eskom is set to reduce load-shedding to stage 2 on Thursday at midday before it is suspended at 5am the next morning.

De Ruyter said Eskom has managed to recover 2 000 megawatts (MW) in partial load losses from when it implemented stage 4 load-shedding earlier in the week.

On Monday, Eskom announced it would escalate load-shedding from stage 2 to stage 4 amid ongoing generation-capacity shortages. 

On Wednesday morning, after a recovery of its emergency generation reserves, the utility scaled load-shedding down to stage 3.

Eskom is forecasting an evening peak of 28 266MW of electricity demand. De Ruyter said the utility currently has 28 144MW of capacity. 

On Thursday, full unplanned outages amounted to 5 755MW and partial load losses amounted to 4 256MW, leaving the grid with a total unplanned capacity loss of 10 011MW.

“Now that is a significant improvement from where we were previously … So again a good performance to recover those partial load losses by our generation team,” he said.

De Ruyter, who has recently been the target of calls for him to relinquish the reins of Eskom, emphasised that consumers being aware of their electricity use goes a long way in helping the grid recover. 

“With your co-operation and support, I think we can manage our demand better. We are very pleased to announce the earlier lifting of load-shedding than anticipated.”

He said Eskom fully understands the frustration caused by load-shedding. “It impacts everybody’s daily life. We all get frustrated sitting in traffic. We all get frustrated when we can’t have the lights on or watch television at night.

“So it’s a very understandable emotion and something that we really empathise with and that we have apologised for in the past. And we will continue to do so again.”

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Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.

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