No need for ‘state of disaster’ for Eskom, we can go until Stage 8 load shedding: Gordhan | Fin24

Pravin Gordhan, minister van open- naked ondernemings

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has shut down the probably of declaring a state of catastrophe for Eskom because the utility habitually battles unit failures at its energy stations, with this current bout resulting in a week-long stretch of Stage 2 load shedding.  

“There should… be a distinction made between a state of disaster just for dramatic effect as compared to a power system emergency – which falls within the purview of the systems operator,” Gordhan advised a National Assembly plenary session on Wednesday.  

“At all times the main imperative is to avoid the total collapse of the grid… There are therefore internal plans to manage the power system that will allow the systems operator to implement up to stage 8 load shedding in order to protect the grid from total collapse.”

The minister mentioned that “at this stage there is absolutely no requirement for Eskom or government to declare certain emergencies.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter mentioned at a briefing that the overall unplanned capability out at time, resulting from unit failures was 14 758MW, which is the same as “three Medupi-size stations” value of capability that’s unavailable. This necessitated Stage 2 load shedding till Monday morning.

Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer mentioned at that very same briefing that whereas round 4000MW of capability was out resulting from upkeep, the work they must do in integral. Eskom is nonetheless ramping down its upkeep throughout winter.

“We all need to understand, we have a system that is old, and not maintained the way it was supposed to. We need to take these units down for planned maintenance – and we don’t have the luxury because of the country’s demands,” he mentioned.

“Given this, we are trying our best to match capacity to demand. But we have an unreliable and unpredictable system.  We will try our utmost to not load shed the country. It does not take away that there is a high risk of load shedding in the winter.”  

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