Eskom: Power grid remains vulnerable

Eskom says technical faults with its generators are making it difficult for the utility to keep up.

FILE: Eskom has once again urged residents to use electricity sparingly.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom says the power grid remains vulnerable as a number of its generating units which went offline last week have not returned to service.

Eskom said in a statement it would restart controlled outages at stage two, which means it has to reduce 2,000 megawatts from the grid as it tries to meet consumer demand of around 30,000 MW, which is set to continue until 10 pm tonight.

Eskom says technical faults and problems with its generators are making it difficult for the utility to keep up with electricity demand.

It has once again urged residents to continue to use electricity sparingly to help ease the pressure on the grid.

Eskom's Khulu Phasiwe says, "We still have a few more to repair and fix so that we can synchronise them back into service. So at this stage it's too early to say when exactly many of them will be brought back into service.

"The power system remains severely constrained and will remain so for the rest of the coming week."

Cash-strapped Eskom said it would use the weekend to build up diesel reserves and dam water levels it could use for power generation next week.

Five of its generators failed last week causing widespread outages across the country.

Meanwhile, the utility has called into question the role played by private power producers.

While there have been calls for private producers to be allowed on the grid, the power utility says it supplies about 95 percent of South Africa's energy.

Phasiwe said, "Cities like Johannesburg and Tshwane have their own power stations and they rely on Eskom but depending on how much power they need."

Energy expert Christ Yelland today tweeted, "Half of Eskom's Koeberg nuclear power station will be out of service from 1 February to 31 May, taking 930 MW off the grid for four months."

PRESSURE FOR GOVERNMENT TO FIND SOLUTIONS

Pressure is building for President Jacob Zuma and government to find a solution to the continued blackouts which has damaged the economy.

Zuma will deliver his State of the Nation Address (Sona) this week and all eyes will be on the power situation which has left South Africans fuming.

The power utility says it's using the weekend to build up diesel stocks and replenish dam levels for pump storage schemes, as the country is hit once again, by load shedding.

However, several main generators have been crippled by technical problems and Eskom is simply unable to meet demand.

South Africans will be listening carefully to Sona to see if the president has a solution for the power crisis.

Take a look at EWN's feature on how to survive load shedding.

To view load shedding schedules in your area, click here.