Much of the country was thrown into sporadic darkness over the weekend, as power utility Eskom announced that it has been forced to implement the dreaded loadshedding schedule – resulting in suburbs being cut off from power for long hours at a time.
The reason for the power outs, says Eskom, is the collapse of the Majuba power station’s central coal storage silo. With the station offline for the foreseeable future, the country is at an electricity deficit of 1 800MW. Peak demand in South Africa is just under 36 931MW.
The collapsed silo housed about 10 000 tons of coal “impacting coal supplies to all six units at the power station resulting in the power station operating at reduced capacity of 1 300M,” Eskom explained.
While loadshedding was fully implemented for the whole of Sunday, the electricity provider warned that Wednesday and Thursday are the days most at risk for further shedding.
“If the capacity stays at the same level, we would have similar system status. With the extensive usage of the water resources it would mean by Wednesday we start to be constrained with water. If the capacity is still at the same level we would need to consider Stage 1 loadshedding possibly on Thursday (whole day) or as early as Wednesday evening (4 – 6 hours),” Eskom said in a media statement.
Eskom urged power users to work sparingly with available capacity, and to turn off all unnecessary appliance.
“Customers are urged to switch off pool pumps, turn air-conditioning to 23⁰C and to switch off geysers and unnecessary lights to limit the impact of the load shedding. Eskom customers can contact our customer call centre on 0860 037 566. Municipal customers need to contact their own municipalities for their schedules.