High unplanned breakdowns at Eskom power stations concerning: Analyst

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Eskom has reintroduced stages two and three of rolling blackouts, marking a disappointing beginning to the new year. Energy analyst Chris Yelland expressed concerns about the impact on the public, especially after a prolonged period of uninterrupted power supply.

According to the power utility, the decision to resume load shedding is attributed to heightened maintenance activities and challenges with six generating units. Additionally, three units failed to return online as anticipated. This setback comes shortly after the recent announcement of the successful synchronization of a new unit at the Kusile Power Station.

While acknowledging the positive step with the synchronization of Kusile’s fifth unit, Yelland cautioned against expecting a continuous power supply as the unit is not yet in commercial service and is expected to be fully operational in approximately six months. Yelland also reminded the public of the delays and economic costs associated with the Kusile project.

Expressing surprise at the current situation, Yelland noted the unexpectedly high level of unplanned breakdowns, reaching 16 000 megawatts. He emphasized that, although units failing to return online is not a new issue, the current magnitude of unplanned breakdowns raises concerns reminiscent of challenging periods in the past.

“What is surprising is that the level of unplanned breakdowns has reached 16 000 megawatts, this is very high. This is back to the bad old times.”

The return of load shedding raises questions about the reliability of South Africa’s power infrastructure and the potential economic implications of continued power disruptions.

Eskom has not provided a clear timeline for when the situation might stabilize, leaving the public and businesses preparing for potential challenges in the coming weeks.