Eskom warns of stage 8 load-shedding in coming months
Eskom said the immediate winter outlook indicates a higher risk of demand and supply imbalance where load-shedding could intensify to stage 8 if the interventions are not effective.
“If unplanned outages average 18,000MW for the winter period, load-shedding will be required every day and will be implemented up to stage 8,” Eskom said.
Acting Eskom CEO Calib Cassim said they would regard it as a success if it could prevent load-shedding from going beyond stage 6 during winter.
“It is going to be a tough winter. A year ago, we had three units at Kusile that were operating, which are no longer available. That equates to 2,000MW of unavailable capacity,” he said.
These units were taken offline following the collapse of a section of a flue-gas desulphurisation duct in October 2022 and will only return at the end of the year.
In addition, Cassim said Eskom had both units at the Koeberg nuclear power station operating during last year’s winter. At peak, they could provide 1,860MW of capacity.
This time around, Eskom will only have Unit 2 available. Unit 1 is expected to be offline until next year for its life extension project. That means another 970MW of capacity was unavailable.
Eskom will, therefore, have roughly 3,000MW less capacity this winter, equivalent to three stages of load-shedding. That’s not counting any unplanned breakdowns.
Cassim said this meant a juggle between stage 4 and stage 6 load-shedding was effectively the best-case scenario for Eskom’s winter outlook.
At a press briefing today, Eskom’s Segomoco Scheppers said it will be a “very tight winter” in terms of supply and demand balance.
Scheppers said Eskom has an installed base of 47,500MW, with unplanned outages ranging between 15,000MW and 18,000MW.
Reliability maintenance will continue during winter and range between 3,000MW and 6,700MW.
It means that Eskom has around 26,500MW of generation capacity available to serve South Africa’s winter electricity demand.
With demand expected to peak at 33,000MW, there is a significant shortfall which Eskom will need to manage through load-shedding.
“Should load losses deteriorate to 18,000 MW and the forecast peak demand materialise, it could result in load-shedding beyond stage 6,” he said.
He added that efforts are underway to return units from outages, reduce partial load losses, and maintain planned maintenance between 1,300MW and 3,000 MW during winter.
Eskom will also intensify demand-side management and increase diesel production to reduce the supply deficit within stage 6 load-shedding.
Despite these interventions, Cassim said there is an “extremely high” chance of Stage 8 load-shedding during the evening peaks if Eskom’s interventions aren’t sufficient.