Wednesday, January 26

Eskom to temporarily lift load shedding tonight when some units return to service

Eskom says it plans to lift the Stage 2 power outages on Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. to give South Africans a break. However, this reprieve will be short-lived as those who go to bed with the option to turn off the lights at night may be disappointed when they wake up as the power company plans to resume the Stage 1 blackouts at 05 : 00 on Friday morning.

Eskom CEO André de Ruyter told a news conference Thursday that the South Africans owe their night with lights to various units, including Matimba 1 and 2, Kriel 3 and Majuba 4, returning to service.

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Read: Eskom plans to suspend power outages on Thursday night

The state-owned company, which supplies 90% of the country’s electricity, is currently battling unplanned load losses of 13,991 megawatts (MW), this number was 14,444 MW when the company implemented load shedding on Wednesday from Stage 2.

De Ruyter previously warned that the power supplier saw an increased risk of power outages in a well-balanced system as the utility drew on meager supplies of diesel to help keep emergency turbines running.

The move to Stage 1, to be announced later this afternoon, means that South Africans can now expect to be without power for at least two hours a day.

Suspicion of foul play

At the briefing, De Ruyter expressed suspicions that the simultaneous failure of the three Matimba power plants located in Limpopo was due to sabotage. Matimba drives are one of Eskom’s best performing drives, so the seemingly coordinated failure certainly caught the utility’s attention.

“My fundamental starting point has always been not to attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence. But when there are three simultaneous units that go off like this, it certainly arouses suspicion, “said De Ruyter.

“I must confirm what we said yesterday in a press release that we do not have strong evidence of sabotage at this time, but it is certainly a coincidence that this incident took place at this time.”

When asked what motivation people would have to sabotage the state-owned company to the detriment of the entire country, the CEO acted cautiously, warning against arson speculation, but said this all appeared to be part of a pushback campaign against the efforts. of Eskom ‘cleaning’.

“I think there is definitely a significant pushback from some of the networks that have benefited extensively from criminal activity in and around Eskom,” he said.

“There have been various reports of arrests, people who have been disciplined, people who have had money confiscated by the state for inexplicable millions in their bank accounts, etc.,” he said.

“So I think there are quite a few people who are not fully aligned with the new direction Eskom is taking to clean up its operation,” De Ruyter said.

Eskom says it has used the services of forensic investigators to get to the bottom of its suspicions and has taken the initiative to employ more security at its stations to protect its assets.

The state utility company says it is also working with law enforcement authorities to investigate a network suspected of altering the quality of coal, ultimately compromising the operation of Eskom’s boiler tubes.

“We are working with the Priority Crimes Investigation Directorate … to discover this particular network that clearly intends to remove the good coal and fill what is left with rocks and other non-combustible material, which of course is very hard on our boiler. tubes as well as our models, ”added De Ruyter.

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