Electricity system remains constrained on Wednesday

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CAPE TOWN, November 6 – The South African power system remained severely constrained on Wednesday morning, with unplanned breakdowns above 12,000 MW, state-owned Eskom said.

The power utility said its emergency response command centre would continue to monitor the system and had implemented contingencies to supplement emergency reserves in order to avoid rotational blackouts or load shedding.

“While some generation units have returned from planned and unplanned maintenance, these are not sufficient to meet the current demand. Eskom has since Monday, increased its usage of its pumped storage and diesel generators to keep the lights on,” it said.

“The extensive use has led to a decline in the pumped storage water and diesel levels and a concerted effort is being made to replenish these reserves.”

Eskom, which is saddled with ailing infrastructure due to years of poor maintenance, was forced to implement load-shedding earlier this year and for about a week last month as some of its generating units failed.

On Wednesday it said the probability of load shedding remained and any shift on the system could result in that happening at short notice.

Unplanned breakdowns above 9,500 MW required the use of emergency resources at a high rate and increased the probability of load shedding if the supply constraints were sustained for a long duration, it said.

“We continue to appeal to customers to continue to use electricity sparingly throughout the day,” it said, urging consumers to set air-conditioners’ average temperature at 23ºC; switch off geysers over peak periods, use cold water rather than the geyser every time, set swimming pool pump cycles to run twice a day, three hours at a time for optimal energy use, turn off computers, copiers, printers and fax machines at the switch at the end of the day, avoiding stand-by or sleep modes.

Eskom promised to provide an update later on Wednesday.

– African News Agency (ANA)