Eskom steps up power cuts after flooding hits major plant

Eskom implements stage 6 load shedding.
Eskom cuts power for a fifth straight day as it struggles with unplanned breakdowns at its power plants. Image: Waldo Swiegers, Bloomberg

South Africa’s state energy company Eskom is cutting up to 6 000 megawatts (MW) of power from the national grid after heavy rain and flooding triggered failures at its Medupi plant, disrupting supplies to businesses and households across the country.

The cut is the largest since Eskom introduced a programme of rolling blackouts, known locally as load-shedding, in 2008.

Read: Load shedding raises risk of second SA recession

Eskom wants R27bn clawback from consumers

“This follows a technical problem at Medupi Power Station impacting additional generation supply. The heavy rains have caused coal handling and operational problems at several stations,” Eskom said in a statement on Monday.

The company had earlier said it would cut 4 000 MW from the grid as it entered a fifth day of rolling blackouts.

Large parts of the usually glittering skyline of financial hub Johannesburg were blanketed in darkness on Monday, while malfunctioning traffic lights caused traffic jams stretching out from the city centre into residential suburbs.

Miner Petra Diamonds said it had halted operations at its mines, adding it was bringing all workers back above ground for safety.

Eskom has total nominal capacity of around 44 000 MW. On Monday, the firm said unavailable capacity had risen to about 13 000 MW, forcing it to roll out nationwide blackouts.

An Eskom spokeswoman told local radio that South Africans could be without electricity for many parts of the day.

“Stage 6 load-shedding means customers are likely to get more waves of load-shedding … So you’d get it in the morning, in the afternoon and again in the evening,” Dikatso Mothae said in an interview with radio station Power98.7.

“We’ve prepared for the rain but this flooding has been significant.” 

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Since leaving South Africa because of a lot of things.
The worst black out I have experienced is 2 hours without Wi-Fi.

My heart goes out to the tax payers, the sick, the vulnerable, the poor and every other person except those who voted for the ANC.

A classical case of:
“Your mind body’s here with me but your mind is on the other side of town.” – The O’Jays

…..there’s an Eskom guy at my front door, telling me “they are here to make sure Stage-7 is avoided”

I ask “What is stage 7?”

Then he blows out the candle I hold in my hand…

In the 1980s I went on a tour of the construction site while a power station was being built close to Vereeniging. Computers were not that widespread back then. CAD programs were rudimentary. The station is still working today.

Today, in 2019, the cadres, with massive computer power and sophisticated design software, cannot design a working, reliable power station. Wonder why?

I went to one of those power stations a month ago. Dirty, shabby, basic maintenance not done, small new buildings unfinished, older ones rundown. Zero pride. Security took forever, meeting priorities were lunch, safety, environmental then very distant last; technical (my field). The other blubbery behemoths at the meeting just wanted the unimpressive technical person to finish so they could start lunch.

The technical person had nothing, no plans of what was existing, only a vague idea of what had been done in the recent past, like two years ago, but no data. He wasn’t even embarrassed, just told us we had to work it out fr ourselves. The contractor’s safety officer told me that the Eskom safety people were equally clueless but deliberately obstructive.

My guess, just a tiny window into the massive stuff up that is the ANC’s Eskom.

I feel for de Ruyter who has just taken on the job of running Eskom at the worst time possible. But on the plus side, maybe this calamitous situation, brought about by lazy, useless ANC cadres, will give him the power to give the ANC a hard kick up the a#se, and make them realise that running a country actually takes WORK.

No one told them how to switch it on.

I ask again…and as confirmed in the tweet herein. If stage 4 = 4GW cut for 6hrs per day & stage 8 = 8GW cut from grid, affects consumers for half of the day. Does that not equate to Eskom’s generating capacity being between 16GW to max 20GW.
If it’s generating fleet amounts to approx. 40GW how can the breakdowns both planned & unplanned be any less than in excess of 50% of that, at any stage of loadshedding implementation…?

They lie so often its hard to know what the actual numbers are.
What is abundantly clear is that Eskoms generating capacity is actually in declime

They can generate less today than in 2008 so we could be looking more truthfully at actual generating capacity of 30 to 35 gwh.
And outages are currently around 15gw so yes, around 50%.
Spot on.

Saa in business rescue, PRASA in business rescue, Eskom at stage 6…but wait for it…the regulation 28 governed “investment specialists” who will try convince you to keep your money invested in SA because the turnaround is about to happen!

Eskom is a true reflection of the ANC ( they are to blame for this malaise). Incompetent, arragont, useless, and ignorant. I may have omitted a few choice adjectives.

at this point they can no longer blame apartheid, the rain…etc. only themselves.

There are some fundamental truths we cannot escape from. One of those are the following – The severity of load-shedding of a State-run utility can never be less than the severity of the load-shedding of the intellectual capacity of the average voter.

This is beautiful, isn’t it? The logical consequence of a predictable phenomenon.

The other day on the radio a former Eskom employee described what working at Eskom was like after 1994. She described how countless people would sit around all day not knowing what to do, with little enthusiasm for doing any form of work. To address the lack of skills,
employees were regularly sent on training courses but often large numbers of people didn’t pitch up for the training and no disciplinary action was taken against them. There were even cases of employees playing golf during office hours and likewise nothing
ever happened to them either. W*ite qualified managers and engineers
were replaced with the new cadres who were so out of their depth, that it was not even funny. Whenever a difficult decision needed to be taken, the logical response was to postpone it. There was (and evidenty still is) a total absence of proper project management and planning and an appreciation for the bigger picture. Getting paid at
the end of the month was the sole and only objective. Talk in the office was spent on everyone’s next big purchase e.g. TV, lounge suite or car. After a few years,she couldn’t stand this soul destroying circus any longer and she resigned.

The “Tyranny of the Majority” continues unabated.

The “Majority” is for the largest part too uneducated, misled, shortsighted and super selfish to realise that the country is going down like this, but they will just blame it on others or the past.

Please stop censoring our comments.

Sorry, would’ve responded earlier but… ja…
I find this funny, “you’d get it in the morning, in the afternoon and again in the evening”. I’m getting that on schedule 4. Sunday night and monday morning, it’s 2hrs on, 2hrs off from 1800-0600. Then again get knocked at lunch and early evening.
If the economy hadn’t slumped so badly and work hadn’t dried up, I’d buy battery backup and solar. Instead, I used the last hour to fill out an ancestral visa application.

That’s an hour well spent. Good luck.

They blame it on the weather, while there is always weather, no matter where you go. This means that they have always got an excuse, and will never accept responsibility. It is clear that it is the political system that is to blame. Does it not rain in other countries? They have the monsoon in India!

Been wondering that too. Perhaps nobody told them about roofing? I have a friend in roofing and one in waterproofing. I’ll let them know to give eskom a call. Otherwise, maybe, thuma Sika noSafintra.

If your friend is pale he won’t get the job.

@pwgg – The 1 is off to Canada in February and the other is heading to the US on a “holiday” next week. Time is running short.

I have one simple question – did it never rain before 1994 ?

I cannot understand how or why journalists and spokespersons persist in using the term “unplanned breakdown”. It defies logic – well in my opinion at least. A breakdown is a breakdown is a breakdown. If a breakdown can really be unplanned, it implies that a breakdown can be planned, which is a ridiculous concept. Unless as a planned accident (made to look like) would have a hint of sabotage linked to it in order to make sense, perhaps that is what is planned to happen as well at Eskom.

A planned breakdown would be sabotage.

It’s pretty clear that what they are trying to distinguish between are planned vs. unplanned outages or shutdowns, rather than breakdowns. One of the many problems at Eskom is that they have systematically starved the fleet of scheduled shutdowns for preventative maintenance, leading inevitably to unplanned outages.

Haha – and unfortunately the Medupi power plant was built in die middle of a lake – thats now flooded!

The sad thing is that we all saw this coming years ago, and we warned them.

The greed of the ANC knows no bounds, to hell with the consequences just set it up to be looted. If all the renewable projects had been approved years ago we would not be having such severe power cuts. We were fed the lies about cost, all untrue, Mantashe etc know it to.

When something is broken you can fix it but when it is FUBAR you can’t.

Eskom, SAA etc are FUBAR.

When is Moneyweb doing an update? This is yesterday’s news – check Daily Maverick for the latest and what’s the issue with some underground mines having had to shut their night shifts!

End of comments.

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