Eskom latest: ‘erratic’ power cuts to continue through Wednesday

South Africa’s state-owned power utility Eskom will resume power cuts from 5 p.m. on Sunday through Wednesday November 23 due to high levels of breakdowns and depleted emergency generation reserves.

Outages will be implemented at various stages with a maximum 5 000 megawatts likely to be be removed from the national grid from 4 p.m. to midnight daily starting Monday. Changes in the schedule “will be more erratic due to the absence of the buffer that is normally provided by the diesel generation capacity between generating unit breakdowns,” Eskom said.

Power cuts suspended (November 20, 9:23 a.m )

South Africa’s state-owned power company suspended power outages, known locally as load shedding, until 5 p.m. on Sunday following a recovery in generating capacity and pumped storage dam levels.

Outages increase (November 18, 7:50 a.m.)

South Africa’s state-owned electricity utility will remove 4 000 megawatts from the national grid until further notice due to breakdowns at its power stations, low pumped storage dam levels and a lack of diesel.

Eskom increased the level of so-called load shedding to stage 4 for the first time in three weeks, from the planned stage 2, on Friday morning. The utility has implemented power rationing on 162 days this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Boiler maintenance tender canceled by high court (November 17, 4:49 p.m.)

A tender, reported by News24 to be worth 16 billion rand ($927 million), that Eskom awarded for maintenance of boilers at 15 power plants was canceled by the country’s High Court. The utility has been ordered to hold a new tender within two months.

The tender was ambiguous and Babcock Ntuthuko Engineering Ltd. was illegally disqualified, according to the court ruling, which was issued on Thursday. The contract had been awarded to Actom Ltd. and Steinmuller Africa Ltd.

Contractor arrested for sabotage of power station (November 16, 2:56 p.m.)

A maintenance contractor at the Camden Power Station was arrested for sabotage that damaged equipment at the plant, Eskom said.

Evidence obtained along with a confession from the worker found that a plug was intentionally removed that would “ensure that his employer is awarded additional maintenance and repair jobs at the power station,” the utility said. The act caused oil to drain from the equipment, which resulted in the unit tripping.

Eskom has failed to meet targets to improve performance from its fleet of coal-fired stations. The second manager of the generation division this year quit the job, the company announced on November 15.

City seeks private power to cut blackouts (November 16, 11:12 a.m.)

Johannesburg, South Africa’s economic hub and its richest city, is seeking electricity supply from private generators to reduce the amount of scheduled power outages.

The local government and City Power issued a request for short-term power purchase agreements of as long as 36 months, according to a statement.

Eskom warns of worsening power cuts for 6-12 months (November 15, 2 p.m.)

Before year end, Eskom will embark on some large capital investment projects and major repairs that will carry significant risk and further increase the implementation of rolling blackouts, the state-owned power utility said in an emailed statement.

“These risk factors will remove more than 2 300 megawatts of generating capacity from the system,” it said.

Shoprite, Vodacom reveal cost of power cuts (Nov. 15, 9:32 a.m.)

The cost of South Africa’s energy shortages is weighing heavily on the country’s biggest companies.

During a year that’s seen the worst national power cuts on record, groceries giant Shoprite Holdings Ltd. said buying diesel to keep stores lit costs an extra R100 million ($5.8 million) a month. That’s on top of the cost of an extensive network of solar panels and generators in the Cape Town-based company’s biggest market.

Vodacom Group invested R5.8 billion in its network in its first-half through September to “enhance the customer experience at a time when the country experienced record levels of power outages,” according to a statement from South Africa’s largest wireless carrier by subscribers.

Power-cut record shattered in just nine months (November 14, 5:31 p.m.)

South Africa experienced an unprecedented number of scheduled blackouts in 2021, but that record has been broken twice over in the first nine months of this year.

Depending mainly on unreliable coal-burning power stations, state-owned utility Eskom implemented power cuts — locally known as load shedding — of 5,761 gigawatt hours through September versus 2,521 gigawatt hours last year, which was a record at the time, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research said in a report.

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