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Taking it up a notch: Eskom now says stage 2 load shedding for Friday

The power utility said it lost its Medupi 3, 4 and 5 power stations due to coal and handling issues further creating an additional shortage of 1.500 MW in generation capacity.

Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom on Friday morning said it would be implementing stage 2 load shedding instead of the previously announced stage 1.

The power utility said it lost its Medupi 3, 4 and 5 power stations due to coal and handling issues further creating an additional shortage 1.500 MW generation capacity.

On Thursday, Eskom board chairperson Jabu Mabuza said that the power utility would implement stage one load shedding on Friday and did not foresee the need for further power cuts thereafter.

Medupi was already experiencing problems with a broken conveyer belt.

Stage 1 load shedding will resume at 9 am and the second phase, which is stage 2, will commence at 12 noon until 11 pm on Friday night.

Eskom's Dikatso Mothae said: “We have mentioned that the system is volatile and when things unexpectedly happen, we, unfortunately, are in this situation where we said it would be stage 1 load shedding but it will be, for the greater part of the country, be stage 2. We will be reviewing later today and will be in a better position to give you a better prognosis.”

WORKING ON FIXING IT

Eskom's top brass on Thursday said they were focusing on solutions to makes sure load shedding ends.

Mabuza said they were hoping that the pump storage and dam levels would recover at the weekend.

Mabuza confirmed that one of the reasons that led to rolling blackouts being implemented was the breaking of a conveyor belt used to transport coal at the Medupi Power Station.

He said they were implementing contingency plans while they fixed the 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.”

Mabuza also explained that six power stations had to be shut down which led to the rolling blackouts; he said they were also working with an ageing system and lack of funds, which made it difficult for them to find permanent solutions.

Mabuza said if the embattled power utility didn't implement stage 2 load shedding in the past two days, the entire system would have collapsed.

It seems it's not only South Africans who are in the dark about why Eskom cannot seem to address the problem of load shedding.

While the acting CEO assured the country that they won't be implementing rolling blackouts this weekend, he could not guarantee how long this would last.

“We have never, we can never ever say that.”

Mabuza said the decision to load shed was one that took them by surprise as well.

“The decision to load shed, including the stage and duration is based on a prognosis that we need to take into account the state of the system and generation capacity at that point in time.”

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