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Load shedding: Stage 6 confirmed

This is only the second time ever that SA has reached this level of power cuts.
Stage 6 load shedding means South Africans faces at least six hours of darkness per day. Image: Supplied

Stage 6 load shedding has been confirmed from 16:00 to 22:00 on Tuesday evening.

This comes after Eskom lost 10 generating units overnight, Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter announced at a hastily arranged media briefing on Tuesday morning. Stage 6 has only been implemented once before, on 9 December 2019, he said.

Update/Read: Gordhan hopes all Eskom staff will return to work, as wage negotiations resume

“Three of the 10 generation units that had tripped during the night have been returned to service. This, however, is still insufficient to stave off the implementation of Stage 6 load shedding for this evening and tomorrow evening,” the utility said in a statement issued just after 14h00 on Tuesday.

“We currently have 3 218MW on planned maintenance, while another 17 621MW of capacity is unavailable due to breakdowns,” Eskom added.

“Unless the current unprotected strike comes to an end, it may even escalate further,” Jan Oberholzer, Eskom’s chief operating officer said during the briefing on Tuesday morning.

He said the power system was recovering well on Monday and Eskom still needs to understand what exactly happened during the night. He believes there is some damage to infrastructure, but with limited access to sites and reduced staff numbers who are working flat out to keep the lights on, this has not been quantified.

Read:
Load shedding: Stage 4 and counting …
Eskom walks out of wage negotiations with union
Load shedding all but a certainty until these things happen …
Eskom says most workers at power plants, sporadic protests

With operations at several coal-fired power stations disrupted and running at reduced staff numbers due to the wildcat strike, Eskom was hoping to return 3 400 MW of capacity by 17h00, but that is at risk due to the labour protest.

The current situation follows Eskom’s move a week ago to declare a dispute after wage negotiations deadlocked. Eskom then applied for an expedited date at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration for the next step in the legislated bargaining process, namely conciliation.

On Monday it was still awaiting a date, but De Ruyter disclosed that he met union bosses the previous day for negotiations that were set to continue later Monday.

He said the talks were “productive” and added that while the strike actions seemed to be co-ordinated, the union bosses said they cannot control the actions of the workers and don’t condone it.

He said energy regulator Nersa allowed less than 5.5% increase for all staff in its revenue allocation that informs electricity tariffs. Eskom’s last offer was up to 5.3%, while the National Union of Metalworkers refused to budge below 12%.

De Ruyter said if Eskom had to settle beyond what Nersa allowed, it would have to be funded from savings. It will be a challenge to do that while protecting the utility’s going concern status.

With Stage 6, South Africans faces at least six hours of darkness per day, Oberholzer said.

At a briefing last Friday (24 June) he confirmed that eThekwini is still excluded from load shedding following the recent flood damage.

Eskom, at the time of Tuesday’s briefing, was forecasting a shortage of 1 400 MW for the evening peak even after including Stage 4 load shedding in its calculations.

It is already running its open-cycle gas turbines very hard and diesel levels are low. At the time of the briefing the tanks at Ankerlig near Cape Town were at 47% with limited volumes available in the country to replenish it. A vessel was only expected over the weekend.

According to group executive for generation, Rhulani Mathebula, the units lost overnight included three at Medupi, three at Tutuka, one each at Kriel, Kusile, Kendal and Duvha, which represents a massive 6 000 MW capacity loss.

Since then two have been returned to service and the technicians hope to get a further four plus a unit at Matla back in service for the evening peak. The utility is however facing a shortage of operators due to the strike.

Oberholzer stated that implementing Stage 6 load would be a “step change” for Eskom’s system operators and comes with huge complexity that make the task to keep the system stable much more challenging.

“We are appealing to our labour partners to put the people of South Africa first, to respect the law and refrain from unlawful action,” he said.

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Is there any competence left on Eskom?

Viva ANC, viva!! The cargo cult is in full swing, taking all of SA back to the Stone Age. Mr Frogboiler, please deploy a few more Cadres, there is still a little bit of infrastructure left that has yet to be fcuked up.

Jip – a very successful culture establishment they should be proud of — Undisputed world leaders in incompetence, theft and destruction !!!!
Viva !!!!

Let’s just rotate stage 8 for a whole day, two days a week among different regions of the country. It is easier to plan for a whole day shut down than this mess or trying to operate diesel backup 10h a day.

I’d like Mondays and Fridays please.

People often have a dig at Zimbabwe and its current state of affairs but they have no load shedding there – makes you think when a country that is so bad has better control over its power supply than SA has.

Greg – pretty certain they get their power from us – apparently we are not allowed to loadshred exports.

Zim had their dilapidated Hwange coal fired power station upgraded, repaired by the Chinese.
Some international assistance, I believe the UK and Denmark assisted to overhaul the Kariba dam, spillway below the dam and their turbines.
So possibly they are better off at the moment.
LS, the Mountain Kingdom must finally hurry up with the second phase of the LHWP the Lesotho Highlands Water Scheme, that has hardly started. Two more dams, another tunnel and doubling of their capacity at the Muela Hydro power station. But I believe Muela produces only 80 MW. In 2008 somebody from LEC, the Lesotho Electricity Corporation told me that at that time that would almost cover the demand of the country in summer. Botswana has also it’s own coal fired power stations at Morupule, that provides about 80-90% of their electricity.
Namibia could be very well the biggest importer of SA’s power at the moment.

The already over-paid corrupt and generally incompetent Eskom staff are now on strike to demand above inflationary increases and holding the SA economy to ransom.
Electricity supply is a National Key Resource and as such these workers are in effect terrorists that are threatening our communities, lives and economy. The whole lot should be fired and arrested and then Eskom must employ competent people to run the facilities even if it means employing those already on pension. The military must be brought in to protect our power utilities from any further sabotage. Enough is now enough!

What is functional in the military is currently hiding from the Islamists in Northern Mozambique — Sorry – no army left !!!

replies like that are why we are in the state we are in, workers who are striking are the lowest paid at Eskom not the overpaid fatcat managers that take home fat paychecks and then walk out of negotiations because the believe a worker cannot strike because he is essential. If managers at Eskom where realy serious in resolving issues drop you fat cat salaries to the same as these workers and lets get South Africa electrified again.

Nice : “ eThekwini is still excluded from load shedding following the recent flood damage”

so one of the most corrupt councils in the country cruises through loadshredding?

something that also really needs some bright lights in a Moneyweb article (but please go wide in opinion) is the nonsense that CPT tweets and crows “city of cape town customers are protected at stage 4! Thank you City of Cape Town”

1. CPT generates absolutely nothing with Steenbras.
2. CPT has a 180MW pumped storage scheme that refills from the grid, and needs 240MWh to refill.
3. They have a consumptive energy shifting system no different than my battery backup system. Even worse : I fill my battery with solar, they fill it with Eskom! Nobody offers me stage relief because of my battery (or the 550kW solar system that relieves stress on the grid)

It is total nonsense, and I would welcome an engineer to explain on what basis this insult continues. If CPT has 2GW peak demand it must shred about 200MW per hour. That is more than a full Steenbras delivers if it were able to empty Steenbras in one hour. ONCE!!!. after the first hour of loadshredding it is gone and to refill it takes 240MWh from the rest of the country which is then under loadshredding.

What would you call someone with an uncanny knack for messing things up? Something that’s the opposite of the Midas touch

Shame on the unions for not coming with solutions money,money that’s all we after.l so if you were not Part Of State Capture You Have A Reason To Cry Foul .Yes I Still See Apartheid In The SeLective Processes But This To Me Is A Window To Scout And Bring Brilliant Young Minds To A Place,Acedemy And Grow Them.Unless We Just Want To Be Rich ?And To Live For Now?

The unions balance out the capatalistic greed we see daily. Its so easy to judge when you have a full stomache and have money in the bank. The old president of Uruguay once said how can a president ride a german car eat caviar while 70% of his countrymen do not have a decent meal this night. Stop judging those workers who are struggling and listen to them just maybe you capatalists will learn something.

End of comments.

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