[imagesource: Eugene Malaka, Daily Sun]
Here comes the cold front.
Today, reports Cape Town ETC, “what weather forecasters are calling one of the most eventful winter weekends in Southern Africa in many years is expected to make landfall in the Western Cape”.
It will bring with it heavy rains, intense winds, and snow in certain parts of the province.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but if you haven’t yet heard, there is a chance that load shedding could return to parts of the country as soon as this evening.
That’s a far cry from May when Eskom, via chief operations officer Jan Oberholzer and CEO Andre de Ruyter, confidently told South Africans that we should only expect around three days of stage one load shedding during winter.
The warning signs were there when talk of “load reduction” entered the fray in late June, and now that a series of generations units have tripped, leading to a constrained power supply, we look to have arrived at what many said was inevitable.
Firstly, here’s the Citizen:
Yesterday Eskom announced that after a tripped unit at Medupi Power Station was restored to operation, one unit at Tutuka Power Station had yet to be restored as another unit at the same station went down. A third generation unit also tripped at Kendal Power Station.
If a similar event occurs again, this could plunge the country into darkness sooner than expected and bringing things even closer to this threshold was overloading during peak demand hours and the spike in illegal connections as desperation and cold in poor areas often coincided with the phenomenon.
Talk of ‘if’ looks more like ‘when’, after CapeTalk’s Refilwe Moloto interviewed Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha.
Some quotes from that interview:
The generation system is constrained due to the cold front… some of the generation units have broken down. There is a high probability of load shedding during the evenings between five and nine, starting today…
We’re seeing high demand due to the cold front. We’ve had to use all our resources – including burning diesel… Even that may not be enough…
Key phrases there – “high probability” and “starting today”. Obviously, nothing is set in stone, but it’s worth keeping an eye on the EskomSePush app.
Here’s the interview in full:
Not cool, man.
Energy industry expert Ted Blom, who has long sounded the alarm bells about the dire state of Eskom, had this to say:
“The philosophy of Eskom over the lockdown was that they would be using that period to catch up on maintenance However, that didn’t happen for two reasons,” said Blom.
“The first is that workers were not willing to be exposed to the virus and the second was that all of the transport entities were not operational, so there was no importing of parts…The reality is Eskom infrastructure is unreliable been impossible to get anything done.”
Blom also blamed poor planning on Eskom’s part as certain procurement processes were supposed to be done between a year and 18 months in advance.
Bring out the extra blankets, and if you have a gas heater, it might be worth grabbing another gas cylinder today. When the temperature plummets, and the rain comes down, it would be nice to be able to crank that heater to the max.
Also, spare a thought for those who will be spending this weekend on the street.
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