Eskom to apply ‘stage 1’ rotational power cuts until Friday evening

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JOHANNESBURG, January 10 – South Africa’s power utility Eskom said on Friday it would extend rolling blackouts until late into the night, suppressing up to 1,000 megawatts of demand at any given time to avoid tripping the strained national grid.

Eskom, which was forced to implement so-called load shedding several times last year, has continued the measure in 2020, citing breakdowns in its generation units largely due to years of inadequate maintenance.

On Friday it said it was downgrading the rotational power cuts to “stage 1” from “stage 2” earlier in the week which entailed throttling up to 2,000 MW of demand, due to an improved prognosis as some generating units returned to service.

“Our pumped storage schemes have been sufficiently replenished, and we continue to work to improve on the levels of diesel at our open cycle gas turbine generators,” it said.

“These emergency reserves will be used to supplement generation capacity today. Our intention is, however, to use as little diesel as possible in order to manage our costs. Our diesel generators will therefore only be used in the event of emergencies to back up our other units.”

Eskom said the system remained vulnerable to unplanned outages or breakdowns which were at 12,098 MW early on Friday.

– African News Agency (ANA)