South Africa’s Eskom Suspends Power Cuts

South African state-owned utility Eskom will suspend controlled power cuts from this evening after having implemented these for seven consecutive days.
Eskom can halt load-shedding at 22:00 today after adding another 1.5GW capacity to the system by returning four generation units to service. This brings total generation capacity recovered since 10 July — when the latest round of rolling blackouts started — to more than 3.5GW.
Available capacity has risen to more than 34GW, the highest so far this year, Eskom said. The utility has also replenished its emergency diesel reserves that fuel its open-cycle gas turbines (OCGT), which are crucial to protect the national grid in the event of multiple unit trips.
Yesterday extremely cold weather pushed the country’s total power demand to 33.5GW, its highest so far this year.
In greater Cape Town and parts of the Western Cape, the high demand amid low temperatures was exacerbated by more than 1,000 faults reported to Eskom after recent storms caused severe damage to network infrastructure.
This comes at a time when Eskom is experiencing serious resource constraints due to Covid-19, with some field operators having tested positive while others are self-isolating owing to exposure to the virus.
Another serious problem in the greater Cape Town area is illegal connections that cause overloading and damage equipment, resulting in loss of supply, the utility said. Certain areas in Cape Town are also known to be dangerous, so armed security guards sometimes have to escort technicians when they enter such areas to repair the network.
Consequently some Eskom customers were left without electricity for much longer than the two-and-a-half hours usually allocated for load-shedding — and in certain parts outages lasted for more than 48 hours.