South Africa’s Eskom escalates power cuts to preserve diesel

PUBLISHED: Fri, 05 Nov 2021 15:29:58 GMT
Alexander Winning
A general view of the headquarter of the embattled South African main electricity provider ESKOM is pictured on February 4, 2015 in Johannesburg. South Africa power supply was under “extreme” pressure on February 2, 2015 and likely to remain so until end of the week after a technical fault at the country’s sole nuclear plant, electricity utility Eskom said. AFP PHOTO/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA (Photo by Gianluigi GUERCIA / AFP) (Photo by GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP via Getty Images)

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 5 (Reuters) – South African state power company Eskom said it would implement more severe power cuts from 2 p.m. local time (1200 GMT) on Friday, citing the need to preserve diesel for backup generators after multiple faults at its coal fleet.

Repeated power outages by Eskom are a major constraint on economic growth in Africa’s most industrialised nation.

Eskom said “Stage 4” power cuts, which require up to 4,000 megawatts (MW) to be shed from the national grid, would last until 5 a.m. on Saturday, after which Stage 2 power cuts would last until 5 a.m. on Monday.

Read more: South Africa picks 25 preferred bidders for renewable power tender

Earlier in the day it announced Stage 2 cuts starting at 11 a.m. on Friday.

“Stage 4 loadshedding (power cuts) is necessary to stop the use of OCGT (open cycle gas turbine) generators in order to preserve the remaining fuel at these power stations, which is critically low…There is insufficient diesel available in the country to continue generating with the OCGTs at the current rate,” the utility said in a statement.

“It is anticipated that some generating units will return to service later today and overnight allowing a reduction to Stage 2 loadshedding.”

Eskom said total plant breakdowns amounted to more than 17,000 MW of its roughly 46,000 MW nominal capacity, with more than 4,000 MW also out for planned repairs.

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