Eskom latest: “erratic” power cuts will continue until Wednesday

South Africa’s state utility Eskom will resume blackouts from 5pm on Sunday until Wednesday 23 November due to widespread outages and the depletion of emergency reserves.

Interruptions will be carried out in various stages with a maximum of 5,000 megawatts likely to be removed from the national grid from 4pm to midnight daily from Monday. Changes to the schedule “will become more erratic because there is no buffer normally provided by diesel generation capacity between unit outages,” Eskom said.

Power outage postponed (November 20 at 9:23 am)

South Africa’s state-owned power company halted power outages, known locally as load shedding, until 5pm on Sunday following a recovery in production capacity and pumped dams.

The number of distractions is increasing (November 18 at 7:50 am)

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

Eskom raised 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.

Tender for boiler maintenance canceled by the Supreme Court (November 17 at 16:49)

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

The tender was ambiguous and Babcock Ntuthuko Engineering Ltd. was illegally disqualified, according to a court order handed down Thursday. The contract had been awarded to Actom Ltd. and Steinmuller Africa Ltd.

Contractor arrested for vandalism at a power station (November 16 at 2:56 p.m.)

A maintenance contractor at the Camden power station was arrested for acts of vandalism which damaged equipment at the plant, Eskom said.

Evidence obtained along with a confession from the worker revealed that a plug was intentionally removed that would “ensure his employer would receive additional maintenance and repair work at the substation,” the utility said. The act caused oil to leak from the equipment causing the unit to fail.

Eskom has not met targets to improve performance from its coal-fired fleet. Another executive in the generation division resigned this year, the company announced Nov. 15.

City seeks private power to stop blackouts (November 16, 11:12 am)

Johannesburg, South Africa’s economic hub and its wealthiest city, is seeking electricity from private generators to reduce the number of scheduled blackouts.

The local government and City Power sent out a request for short-term electricity contracts for up to 36 months, according to the announcement.

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

Before the end of the year, Eskom will embark on several major investment projects and major repairs that will carry significant risks and further increase the occurrence of blackouts, the state utility said in an emailed statement.

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

Shoprite, Vodacom reveal cost of power outages (Nov 15 9:32am)

The cost of South Africa’s energy shortage is falling heavily on the country’s largest companies.

In a year of the country’s worst power outages, grocery giant Shoprite Holdings Ltd. said buying diesel to keep shops lit was costing an extra 100 million roubles(US$5.8 million) a month. That’s on top of the cost of an extensive network of solar panels and generators in the company’s biggest market in Cape Town.

Vodacom Group invested R5.8 billion in its network in its first half to 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 operator to subscribers.

Electricity record was broken in just nine months (November 14 at 17:31)

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

Dependent mainly on unreliable coal-burning power stations, state utility Eskom carried out blackouts – known locally as load shedding – of 5,761 gigawatt-hours through September, compared with a record 2,521 gigawatt-hours last year, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research said in a report.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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