Embattled state power utility Eskom upped load shedding on Tuesday afternoon from stage 2 to stage 4, after a unit at its Koeberg nuclear power plant in Cape Town tripped.
“Load shedding will move to Stage 4 from 2pm this afternoon after Koeberg Unit 1 tripped. The unit has been disconnected from the grid due to a fault on the turbine side, however the nuclear reactor remains safe,” it said in a statement just before 2pm.
“The teams are investigating the root causes of the fault, and will advise of the remedy as soon it is established.” It added that the loss of a unit of approximately 930MW puts further strain on the generation fleet, necessitating a higher stage of load shedding.
Stage 4 power cuts allow for up to 4 000MW to be shed from the national grid, according to Eskom’s website. Stage 2 allows for up to 2 000MW to be shed.
As its ageing fleet is currently “constrained, unpredictable and vulnerable”, Eskom reiterated on Tuesday that the stages of load shedding may change at short notice, should there be any unexpected change in the generation system performance. It also noted that demand has risen incrementally since January.
The utility urged South Africans to co-operate in managing electricity consumption to help it minimise load shedding.
* Load shedding schedules can be viewed on the Eskom website at https://loadshedding.eskom.co.za or on local municipal websites, depending on a customer’s electricity supplier.