Load-shedding: South Africa teeters on the brink as five generating units collapse

Eskom has warned that there is a risk the country could experience another bout of load-shedding after the failure of five generating units.

“While no load-shedding is currently being implemented, Eskom would like to request the public’s assistance in reducing the usage of electricity as the power system is severely constrained,” the ailing power utility said in a statement on Tuesday evening.

According to Eskom, five generation units at various power stations failed throughout the day: “Should there be any further loss of generation capacity, load-shedding would be required to be implemented at very short notice.”

A generating unit each at Kusile and Majuba were taken offline to repair boiler tube leaks, Eskom said, while a generating unit each at Kriel, Majuba and Matimba tripped. The return to service of a generating unit each at Kendal and Tutuka were delayed.

The breakdowns have resulted in 16 822 megawatts of capacity being taken offline.

The warning comes just four days after Eskom suspended load-shedding after having recovered partial load losses from when it implemented stage four power outages last week.

Last week’s load-shedding spurred calls for Eskom chief executive André de Ruyter to relinquish the reins of the utility, which is saddled with a creaking generation infrastructure after years of poor maintenance. De Ruyter responded by saying he would not step down of his own volition.

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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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