There is very little communication coming from Eskom these days and despite the promises from new CEO Brian Molefe that there would be no load shedding during winter, South Africa experienced stage 3 power outages over the weekend.
Stage 3 means that 3 000 MW had to be shed prevent a grid shut down.
What is more alarming is that on Saturday, Eskom predicted that there would be no loadshedding but in the space of 74 minutes, South Africa lurched from Stage 1 load shedding to Stage 2 to Stage 3 and then back to Stage 2.
Stage 1 equals a supply shortfall of 1 000 MW. Stage 2 equals a 2 000 MW shortfall, while Stage 3 is a 3 000 MW shortfall.
1000 MW is the equivalent of a full unit at Koeberg, or around two units at one of Eskom’s many coal-fired base load power stations.
To go from a 1 000 MW shortfall to a 3 000 MW one, means somewhere between 1 000 MW and 2 000 MW of generation capacity was lost in an hour.
Then close to 1 000 MW of capacity was recovered within 30 minutes.
Power expert Chris Yelland calculated that with Stage 3 load shedding on a Saturday winter night, there must be close on 12 500 MW of generation capacity down – roughly 30 % of the total power Eskom is able to generate.
Eskom has warned of more load shedding this week as it cannot keep up with the expected demand for power.