Eskom officials on Wednesday briefed the portfolio committees of public enterprises and mineral resources and energy on developments at the power utility.
Worryingly, Eskom still confirmed that it expects to implement load shedding this summer – with Stage 4 being the ‘worst case’ scenario, Parliament was told.
The group noted that from 1 January to 29 August 2022, there have been 91 days of load shedding.
The main causes of these power disruptions are generally attributed to a shortage of generation; increased unplanned unavailability; limited fuel availability at peaking stations; the need to conserve and replenish depleted emergency resources; and poor coal and compromised emissions performance, Eskom said.
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Eskom plans to add new generation capacity over the next three years (36 months) to reduce the risk of load shedding.
This will (hopefully) be enabled through the recent announcement of its land lease agreement with Independent Power Producers, emergency procurement measures and imports from the region to be implemented over the next 12 months as part of energy crisis interventions.
The recovery of unit 4 at Medupi, damaged by an explosion, is due in August 2024, and will also help bolster capacity.
According to the BusinessTech website, the state firm stressed that its plan is “full” – meaning that there is very little room for error.
The plan was ‘stress tested’ in three scenarios, each with various levels of outages, use of gas turbines, and different levels of load shedding.
Eskom’s base outlook – best case scenario – is that unplanned outages can be kept at 13 000MW, with minimal use of gas to cover any shortfall. In this scenario, load shedding, if needed, will be kept to Stage 1, and only implemented over 24 days.
Historically, the base case for outages was 10 000MW. This has been increased because of past performance.
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In the middle road profile – where unplanned outages expand to 14 500MW – load shedding at Stage 2 becomes frequent. In this scenario, Eskom expects load shedding every month, up to 20 days.
In the ‘worst case’ scenario – where unplanned outages exceed 16 000MW – load shedding at Stage 3 and on occasion Stage 4, is almost always in effect.