Eskom has lost more generation capacity during the weekend, so South Africa’s state power provider on Sunday announced that the daily power cut for Monday and Tuesday will be extended.
After pausing the rolling power cut on Friday, Eskom, which operates 15 ageing coal-fired power plants, resumed it on Saturday between 5 p.m. (1500 GMT) and 10 p.m.
“Load shedding will be imposed at Stage 3 on Monday and Tuesday evenings at the same time,” Eskom said in a statement.
“For the remainder of the week, load shedding will be lowered to Stage 2.”
On an eight-stage system, Stage 3 is the level of power outage in which the utility implements a seven-and-a-half hour rolling outage across the country. Stage 2 is a rolling five-hour blackout.
Eskom said that one unit at three distinct power plants failed on Saturday evening, rendering a third of its capacity inoperable due to unforeseen outages.
According to its website, it has a nominal power generation capacity of just over 45,000 MW.
On Wednesday, Eskom warned that the country “desperately” needs between 4000 and 6000 MW of additional capacity, and that unless that demand is met, rolling blackouts will become a regular occurrence in Africa’s most industrialised country.
The company has conducted 31 days of power cuts, or load shedding as it is known locally, this year, compared to 26 days last year over the same period.
Meanwhile, Pravin Gordhan, South Africa’s Minister of Public Enterprises, has ruled out declaring a state of emergency for Eskom, which is plagued with near consistent unit failures at its power facilities, the most recent of which resulted in a week of Stage 2 load shedding.
“There should… be a distinction established between a state of calamity for dramatic effect and a power system emergency – which falls under the purview of the systems operator,” Gordhan said during a National Assembly plenary session on Wednesday.
“At all times, the overriding aim is to prevent the grid from completely collapsing… As a result, there are internal plans in place to manage the electricity system, allowing the system operator to apply up to stage 8 load shedding in order to save money.
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