Cold, Wet, Dark Weekend: Eskom Extends Stage 2 Load-Shedding Hours

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Eskom has extended Stage 2 load-shedding for the weekend to begin from 08:00 until 22:00 on Saturday and Sunday. 

In an earlier notice, the struggling power utility had announced Stage 2 load-shedding for the evening only, but had warned it could alter the plan at short notice.

In the latest communique, Eskom said “it regrets to announce that the implementation of Stage 2 load-shedding will now be extended to Saturday and Sunday from 08:00 until 22:00”.

Eskom added: “This is done to preserve the current diesel stocks and an attempt to contain the amount of load-shedding.”

The power utility said it will continue to closely monitor the system, adjust and communicate any changes as may be necessary.

Eskom said it was expecting a ship containing diesel supplies to berth on Monday, and to offload its cargo through Tuesday.

“If the current burn rate persists, diesel would be depleted ahead of the ship offloading,” explained Eskom on Friday.

“While a single unit at the Duvha Power Station tripped this afternoon, a generating unit each at Tutuka and Medupi power stations have been returned to service.”

Earlier in the week, on Thursday, Eskom reported incidents of “deliberate acts of sabotage” at the Tutuka Power Station while preparations to return Unit 5 to service were being finalised.

The power utility said a cable was found to have been cut to delay the return of the unit to service.

In addition, it was later discovered that the control air pipe supplying the turbine systems had been cut with a power tool and the entire bend removed.

On Friday, Eskom said: “Three generation units are expected to service tomorrow. This, however, will not be sufficient to meet the higher demand during the cold front over the weekend.  

“We currently have 3 405MW on planned maintenance, while another 15 481MW of capacity is unavailable due to breakdowns.”

Eskom again appealed to customers to limit the impact of load-shedding by reducing the usage of electricity and switching off all non-essential items.

Eskom reiterated its regular message that load-shedding was implemented only as a last resort to protect the national grid.

“We, therefore, urge all South Africans to continue using electricity sparingly, especially between 05:00 – 09:00 in the mornings and 16:00 – 22:00 in the evenings,” said the power utility.