Eskom warns of potential Stage 8 rolling blackouts in coming winter

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Eskom says winter is expected to be challenging with the likelihood of Stage 8 rolling blackouts. The power utility’s Acting CEO Callib Cassim says they are entering the season with 3 000 megawatts less generation capacity due to breakdowns at three units at Kusile and one unit at Koeberg.

Briefing the media on the state of the grid at Megawatt Park in Johannesburg on Thursday, Callib says the risk of a total blackout is highly unlikely.

“If the interventions that we have planned for the winter do not achieve the desired outcomes and the unplanned outages reach levels of 18 000 MW, then the likelihood of Stage 8 load shedding during peaks is extremely high.  I must take the opportunity again to reiterate, that in terms of a national blackout, we are confident that that will not occur because of the interventions and mechanisms we have in place.”

R20-billion to spend on OGCT 

Cassim says there will be increased reliance on Open Gas Cycle Turbines (OGCT) during the upcoming winter seasons due to anticipated high electricity demand.

Eskom currently has R20-billion to spend on OGCT. Cassim says it is important to have additional generation capacity on the grid.

He welcomes Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe’s announcement to open additional bid windows for increased renewable capacity.

“Following those two decisions of the regulators and the debt relief, we are definitely in a much better position as the chairman has indicated. We’ve now allocated and released capital expenditure across generations, transmission and distribution for the next three years. We are comfortable and confident that we’ll be able to increase that to a five-year horizon that should then allow for the execution of those capital plans, requiring of spares well in advance.”


Meanwhile, the power utility has issued a statement on Twitter, apologising to all South Africans about the impact that rolling blackouts are having on the country.

Cassim says load shedding is implemented to maintain the stability of the national power system to avoid a blackout, as stated in the tweet below:

Stages 4 and 6 

Eskom is currently implementing Stages 4 and 6 rolling blackouts until further notice.

Breach of contract 

At the same media briefing, Eskom Board Chairperson Mpho Makwana says the power utility will act against the former CEO Andre de Ruyter for breach of his employment contract.

He says de Ruyter disclosed confidential information and violated his fiduciary duties in his new book.