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Load shedding to start at 2pm

Eskom chief executive Andre de Ruyter has announced that the power utility will implement Stage 2 load shedding from 2pm this afternoon.

The announcement came during a media briefing in which de Ruyter had moved to assure the nation that the power utility was doing all it can to keep the lights on although there was an “increased risk of load shedding”.

“There have been additional developments, which shows that the system is very finely balanced and it’s a very dynamic situation that we have been dealing with.

“Due to the loss of Medupi, Kendal and Duvha units, we now have insufficient generating capacity at our disposal and as such we have no alternative but to implement Stage 2 load shedding from 2pm this afternoon until 5am on Saturday morning,” he said.

De Ruyter explained that currently, the power utility is in danger of depleting its diesel reserves which would create further risk to the system.

“We have a challenge with our remaining emergency reserves…our projected diesel reserves have put us in a position where we are likely to deplete our diesel reserves too quickly and that will create an undue amount of risk on the system and therefore we have to reserve our emergency reserves,” he said.

On Tuesday evening, the power utility said that the system was under “severe pressure” following the failure of at least five generating units at several power stations.

The entity had also warned that “load shedding [could] be required to be implemented at short notice”.

During the briefing, de Ruyter explained that several power stations had experienced unexpected breakdowns.

“[On Tuesday] we had two boiler tube leaks. One at Kusile and…Majuba [power stations] which forced us to take a unit each down and we had further trips at Kriel, Majuba and Matimba.

“These are very large units and they are quite crucial…but we managed to make our through peak hour without implementing load shedding but it again demonstrates how tightly balanced the system is,” de Ruyter explained.

At least three units have since returned to service while the remaining two are undergoing repairs. – SAnews.gov.za

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