South Africa’s Eskom sees rolling power cuts over by end of next week

JOHANNESBURG, July 16 (Reuters) – Rolling power cuts in South Africa should come to an end by the end of next week as more power generation units come online, the chief executive of state power utility Eskom, Andre de Ruyter, said on Saturday.

Last month Eskom started implementing so-called “Stage 6” power cuts – or load shedding – for only the second time in its history, meaning most South Africans were without power for at least six hours a day.

The level of the outages has since been lowered, with Stage 2, 3 and 4 power cuts at different times this week. Eskom has blamed the outages on striking workers hampering efforts to bring faulty generation units back online. read more

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“Towards the end of the coming week we should emerge from load shedding. We’ve already lifted our indication for load shedding going forward, we’ve got a couple of big units returning so that’s positive news,” de Ruyter told journalists.

He added that towards the end of July the risk would be significantly diminished once unit 2 of the Koeberg nuclear power station comes back onto the grid, which “is about 920 MW so that will bring large measure of relief.”

“But ultimately to put load shedding to bed, what we need is additional capacity because the system as it is at the moment is still unreliable and unpredictable,” de Ruyter said.

He was speaking at a brief news conference at Tutuka power station in Mpumalanga province after a site visit and meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa, some ministers and managers of the plant for a progress report.

Ramaphosa said he’d meet other managers at another power station this afternoon to get a closer insight of some of the problems and challenges they are facing.

“Having done so we’ll be able to come up with a number of proposals that can effectively deal with the challenges that the country faces when it comes to load shedding,” he also told reporters.

Eskom relies on an aging coal fleet that is highly prone to faults. South Africa has faced intermittent power cuts for more than a decade that have hindered economic growth.

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Reporting by Nqobile Dludla Editing by Jane Merriman and Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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