Eskom has done an about-turn, announcing on Friday morning that it would be returning to “stage two” loadshedding, as opposed to Thursday’s assurance when the power utility said that stage one rotational loadshedding would take effect.
In a statement released on Friday morning, Eskom said that the sudden need for the more intense loadshedding was as a result of losing Medupi Power Station’s units 3, 4 and 5 due to coal and ash handling issues during the late hours of Thursday night.
Medupi power station, located in Limpopo, was affected this week by a failing conveyor belt that supplies Medupi power station with coal.
An additional shortage of 1500 MW was created due to the loss of the power station’s units.
Eskom said it had taken into account the disruptions that the outages would cause to the public, in particular the matric examinations that are taking place. Therefore it would continue with stage 1 loadshedding from 9am until midday, and thereafter implement stage 2 loadshedding which will continue until 11pm on Friday night.
On Thursday, Eskom acting chief executive Jabu Mabuza said that contingency plans were in place while they worked on fixing the conveyor belt.
“We have activated our emergency command service centre and system recovery is in progress. Contingency measures were put in place to manually feed coal to Medupi and we have made a considerable amount of progress to have this done by the middle of next week.
“Our objective is not to implement load shedding. If we have to as a matter of last resort in order to protect the integrity of the system, we aim to do so at minimal levels, in the shortest duration possible,” he said.