Eskom said on Friday that persistent rain on the Highveld in recent days — which is not predicted to stop until the middle of next week — has contributed to the latest load shedding crisis.
Eskom began rotational power cuts on Thursday and expects this stage-2 load shedding to continue until at least Saturday morning.
“With the incessant rain, we are beginning to experience coal-handling problems at a number of our power stations as a result of wet coal, which has contributed to additional load losses,” the state-owned power utility said in a statement.
“This could further impact supply as the rain weather persists. While not expected or planned, further deterioration of plant performance or the emergence of other risks may necessitate invoking further states of load shedding.”
Rain is forecast to continue in the Mpumalanga Highveld region, where many of Eskom’s coal-fired power stations and coal-supply fields are located, until at least Tuesday next week, according to the South African Weather Service website.
Eskom said its generating plant “continues to perform at low levels of reliability” and that it’s technical teams “were unable to return units from planned or unplanned maintenance as scheduled”.
“With units not returning, we were unable to replenish water reserves overnight for our pumped storage schemes.”
Unplanned breakdowns remain above 12.5GW, it said.
“We are currently utilising diesel at our open-cycle gas turbines to supplement capacity and to limit the level of load shedding,” it added. — (c) 2019 NewsCentral Media