Eskom will impose power cuts equal the worst-ever load shedding overnight on Saturday as it battles breakdowns in its ageing fleet of coal-fired power stations.
The state-owned electricity utility, which is under siege by criminal syndicates at its power stations, said in a tweet at 4.40pm on Saturday that it will escalate load shedding from stage 4 to stage 6 – meaning a supply deficit of 6GW – from 8pm until 5am on Sunday.
This, it said, is to “create space to replenish the emergency generation reserves”. It warned it might have to impose stage-6 cuts again overnight on Sunday and into Monday.
For the rest of the time, load shedding will be imposed at stage-4 “until further notice”.
Eskom provided no details about what has caused the latest deterioration in its plant performance.
Earlier on Saturday, the utility said it had resolved an issue at the Koeberg nuclear power station in Cape Town that had caused unit 2 of the facility to trip at 10pm on Friday evening. The unit tripped while Eskom was replacing a failed electronic turbine protection module.
“The reactor responded to the turbine trip by reducing power and it remained critical, as designed, with no nuclear safety consequences. This enabled the unit to be returned to service quickly and the unit was resynchronised to the grid just before 7am this morning (Saturday). Over the course of the day, the unit will increase power back up to full load.” — © 2023 NewsCentral Media