Eskom acting group CEO Calib Cassim said the utility will work hard to avoid anything higher than stage-4 load shedding this summer.
Cassim made the remarks at a state-of-the-system briefing on 27 September at which he outlined a “base case scenario” for unplanned outages of 14.5GW over the summer season.
It will also focus on increasing the amount of available generation in the coming months, with the specific aim of adding 2.9GW of capacity from the newly built but never fully operational Kusile power station east of Pretoria.
It will also continue to burn diesel in its open-cycle gas turbines (OCGTs) this summer to reduce the impact of rolling power cuts on the economy.
According to Cassim:
- Although Eskom has not met a targeted reduction in unplanned load losses (breakdowns), there is a “declining trend”; and
- While the Koeberg steam generator outage is “progressing well”, with the unit expected to return to service on 3 November, the second unit at the nuclear power station will then be taken offline for similar work, meaning the full capacity of Koeberg will not be available for some time.
Although load shedding in winter was less severe than many energy analysts had feared, Eskom still implemented stage-6 power cuts for 39 days in the period due to higher-than-expected levels of unplanned and planned outages.
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Cassim acknowledged that Eskom has more work to do to curtail breakdowns at its ageing fleet of coal-fired power stations. “Efforts to reduce unplanned load losses need to be intensified in order to avoid significant OCGT usage and to meet demand.
“Eskom is working to contain load shedding as low as possible, with the aim of not exceeding stage 4 by maintaining unplanned load losses within the 14.5GW scenario for the 2023 summer outlook.” — © 2023 NewsCentral Media