De Ruyter: Eskom can restart grid in highly unlikely case of total blackout

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter has warned against fearmongering over ongoing rolling power cuts.

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter. Picture: @Eskom_SA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter is on Wednesday warning against fearmongering over ongoing rolling power cuts.

He gave an update on the sorry state of our grid, which has led to Eskom implementing stage four rolling blackouts on Tuesday morning.

"I would caution against speculation in this regard, I would caution against fearmongering, stoking of speculation and fear in this regard. We do have plans in place, we have the capability of recovering," De Ruyter said during Eskom's update on the power crisis on Wednesday morning after power outages had to be ramped up to stage four.

READ: How to check your load shedding schedule

The power cuts could be lowered on Thursday but only if the power grid performed better, he said.

He tried to allay fears over a complete blackout.

"We do have the capability to restart the grid, and I must stress this, in the highly unlikely event that a total blackout were to occur," De Ruyter said.

De Ruyter said that he was hoping that some generating units would return to service by Thursday.

READ: Eskom reduces load shedding to Stage 3 from 10pm

For now, South Africans have to live with stage four outages until early Friday morning.

At the same time, Eskom said it planned to keep unplanned unit losses at a minimum this winter to try and avoid power cuts but there were no guarantees.

De Ruyter said the current performance of the system was disappointing and unacceptable.

Head of transmission Segomoco Scheepers: "If we are able to contain the unplanned [unit trippings] below 12,500 megawatts, we should not have any load shedding. Obviously, today we are struggling to achieve the lower level of unplanned that we desire and it progressively increases to 37 days for winter and in the extreme, it could be as high as 101 days but that is clearly very far in the extreme."

In order to keep the lights on, the utility must be on schedule in maintaining its generation units, something that the parastatal failed to do after the Easter long weekend during the colder weather.