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Eskom Urges South Africans To Use Electricity Sparingly As Winter Approaches

The South African ailing power utility Eskom has urged the people to use electricity sparingly this week as the approaching colder weather will demand more electricity consumption. The utility will implement the “Use electricity smartly” campaign this week, which is aimed at reducing the use of electricity.

“With colder weather conditions expected across the country and the demand of electricity projected to increase, the power system is forecasted to be tight for this week,” Eskom said. “The winter plan indicates a higher demand, with three days being extremely tight, with a high risk of load shedding.”

Phakamani Hadebe, the group chief executive of Eskom, said the power utility has done an extensive winter plan, review the power system and identified all the problems. He said while the company is confident that it will make it through winter with no or limited load shedding, it is mindful of the potential of risks on a very tight power system which may result in shifts on the power system and which could result in load shedding.

Hadebe added that Eskom has mapped out scenarios where load shedding will be implemented in cases where unplanned breakdowns increase to more than 9 500 MW, as well as where there are delays in returning units from planned maintenance or in cases of unanticipated disruptive events.

“The first few days in April have given reassurance of the integrity of our plan as we managed to avoid load shedding on three days where it was forecasted due to good performance of our plant,” said Hadebe. “We managed to go through periods of high demand in the evening peak without using a lot of diesel.”

Eskom expects additional power from generation units that were out for planned maintenance, which is currently at about 6 000 MW, will ramp down to about 2 000 MW by May. Two units at Kriel and Matla (1 050 MW) will also be returned to service. Kusile 3 is also expected to begin generating electricity towards the end of April. The three power stations are all located in Mpumalanga.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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