Eskom May Run Out of Money for Diesel, Due to Hike in Global Price

Eskom Office.

South Africa’s Eskom will in the near future approach the market for gas to run its diesel-gobbling open-cycle gas turbines.

This was announced at an emergency media briefing, shortly after the utility told the country that it will be subjected to Stage 4 load shedding until 05:00 on Friday (March 11). Thereafter Stage 2 will apply until 05:00 on Monday (March 14).

Eskom has been in a battle to keep the lights on since the start of the week due to “multiple generating unit failures over the past 24 hours”.

At first it anticipated that Stage 2 load shedding, which lowers demand by 2 000 megawatts (MW), would suffice to stabilise the power system if limited to the hours between 21:00 and 05:00 on Monday and Tuesday night.

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The situation however deteriorated as more of its poorly maintained coal-fired units tripped.

According to Eskom head of generation Phillip Dukashe the availability of the coal-fired fleet dipped below 60% with more than 20 000 MW out of service.

On Wednesday morning Eskom chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer told journalists that Eskom is using its emergency reserves faster that it is able to replenish them.

Eskom said in a statement that, “Stage 4 load shedding will therefore give us the space required to replenish the emergency reserves and continue to manage the system safely.”

The emergency reserves are pump-storage schemes and the OCGTs. Eskom utilised all 20 of its own OCGT units for an extended time on Monday and Tuesday, Oberholzer said.

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