Decades of neglected maintenance have caught up with Eskom, and a substantial amount of power will be taken off the (already tight) grid this summer as repair work is done .
The capacity available to meet Monday’s peak demand is 33 776 Megawatt (MW). This includes open cycle gas turbines, which use expensive diesel and are normally used only in emergencies, while demand is forecast at 31 781 MW. Current planned maintenance stands at 4 661 MW. Unplanned outages are 4 274 MW.
Last Monday, peak demand of 30 282 MW was met by available capacity of only 30 742 MW. By Thursday capacity available had improved to 34 618 MW, with planned maintenance outages at 4 461 MW. Unplanned outages were at 3 678 MW.
During the course of Wednesday last week, supply from Cahora Bassa in Mozambique (1 500 MW) was lost for about two hours.
Peak demand for the rest of this week is forecast at: 31 825 MW on Tuesday, 32 024 MW on Wednesday, 32 111 MW on Thursday, 32 015 MW on Friday, 29 933 MW on Saturday, and 29 475 MW on Sunday.
Eskom said it continues to make progress with its programme of planned maintenance. The performance of its power stations has improved since last week, but the system remains tight and users are urged to save 10% of their normal demand.
“We urge all South Africans to partner with us to keep the lights on. If all our customers can save 10% off their electricity usage, this will make it significantly easier to manage the power system during this challenging time,” Eskom said.