This morning at around 7:00, Eskom – South Africa’s embattled energy utility – was forced to implement Stage 4 rotational blackouts due to the loss of additional generating units across its grid of powerplants.

The utility has announced that load shedding will continue until 05:00 on Friday, with the company adding that “Eskom will continue to adjust the stage of load shedding depending on the level of breakdowns” and that “Load shedding is only implemented as a last resort to protect the national grid.”

According to Eskom, South Africa’s energy grid, which was already under Stage 2 load shedding, continued to weaken as generation units at each the Tutuka and Majuba power stations tripped this morning, adding to units already down at the Hendrina, Medupi, Arnot and Camden power stations.

The utility says that 16,519 MW of energy are currently unavailable due to unscheduled breakdowns at the above stations.

Andre de Ruyter, CEO of Eskom, today addressed the media about the implementation of Stage 4 load shedding, saying that the heavy rains the country has been facing recently have not aided Eskom in generating power. The rains have led to flooding in many parts of South Africa, especially in the KwaZulu-Natal province where disastrous flooding has caused the deaths of over 400 people.

Philip Dukashe, Project Director at Medupi Power Station, who joined the media call with De Ruyter, added that the utility does not expect the load shedding to progress to Stage 6 this week and that maintenance on the downed units is expected to be completed by Friday.

The Eskom CEO added that the coal and diesel-powered system being used by South Africa to generate electricity is unreliable, and stated that now is the time for SA to shift to renewable energy, noting that there are a number of countries that will provide concessional financing for the energy transition to take place.

By Luis Monzon
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