The margin between the available electricity generation capacity of 36‚580 Megawatts (MW) and peak demand of 36‚258 MW was only 322 MW‚ Eskom said in its 54th system status bulletin.
Eskom continues to monitor weather conditions around the country closely‚ after snow and heavy rain affected power lines and sub-stations in the Cape and elsewhere over the weekend.
Some customers‚ particularly in the Eastern Cape‚ experienced power outages as a result of the storm damage‚ but supply has been restored in almost all areas. Eskom had anticipated inclement weather and had staff‚ helicopters and equipment on standby. This enabled it to respond rapidly to repair damaged infrastructure‚ despite difficulties in accessing sites.
Extremely cold weather has‚ however‚ resulted in an increase in demand nationally‚ particularly during the evening peak hours between 17:00 and 19:00. Peak demand this evening is expected to reach 36‚258 MW‚ the highest so far this winter‚ and customers are urged to switch off all non-essential electrical appliances during the peak hours.
The reason for the tiny 0.9 percent margin‚ or less than one modern coal-fired generator‚ was not given as in its planning for winter Eskom said that planned maintenance would only be 600 MW this week instead of the actual planned maintenance of 2‚250 MW. Unplanned outages were 4‚100 MW even though the 900 MW Koeberg Unit 1 was returned to service after an electrical fault on the non-nuclear side of the unit shut it down on July 11.
The Koeberg shutdown meant that outages due to unplanned maintenance shot up to 4‚717 MW on July 12 from 3‚626 MW on July 9‚ but it should have returned to Eskom’s benchmark of not having more than 3‚600 MW out in unplanned outages. The peak unplanned outages so far this year were 5‚776 MW on May 3.
The available capacity of 35‚514 MW on July 12 was well down on the 37‚105 MW available on July 9 and this year’s peak of 38‚168 MW on June 25.
Planned maintenance and unplanned outages on July 12 were 2‚306 MW and 4‚717 MW from 4‚240 MW and 4‚011 MW respectively on May 21.
Article continues on page two and three...