Stage 4 load shedding has been implemented following what Eskom has described as a “sudden tripping” of three units at the Kendal Power Station.
Load shedding was due to be reduced to Stage 2 on Tuesday morning to allow the power utility to return some 13 generating units back to service following hefty stage four load shedding over the weekend.
Now the loss of 1920MW in generating capacity has set the power utility back.
Stage 4 load shedding is expected to last until Thursday morning and will be reduced to Stage 2 thereafter.
“In the early hours of [Tuesday] morning, a conveyor belt feeding coal into Kendal Power Station failed. To conserve coal, the power output of the generators was reduced, but this required fuel oil to be used to sustain the boiler combustion. Subsequently, the fuel oil plant supplying the units experienced a failure and shut down.
“This resulted in the trip of the three generating units. The Kendall units are anticipated to return to full service by the weekend,” Eskom said.
The power utility reported that prior to the incident at Kendall Power Station, a generating unit at Arnot and Medupi power stations for “emergency repairs”.
“The breakdowns have resulted in intense usage of the pumped storage schemes and the Open Cycle Gas Turbines. These emergency generation reserves are designed to fill the generation gaps resulting from exactly this kind of emergency and obviously cannot be used continuously,” the power utility said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Eskom had at least 16 985MW of energy unavailable due to breakdowns and a further 5 446MW out for maintenance.
“While some generation units are expected to return to service over the next 24 hours, it is necessary to increase the load shedding to conserve the emergency generation reserves.
“Any further significant changes will be promptly communicated. Eskom would like to caution the public that load shedding is only implemented as a last resort,” Eskom said.