By Zukile Majova
Eskom has been caught red-handed in a shocking revelation — they failed to disclose that the nation was plunged into Stage 8 load shedding last week. Did they really think South Africans wouldn’t notice?
The embattled power utility then announced that Stage 6 would be continued “indefinitely” after Unit 2 at Koeberg Power Station tripped over the weekend.
All weekend, the power utility battled to supply enough power for domestic consumption while most heavy users like industries, factions, commercial services and mines were closed down.
On Sunday night, Eskom said it was “in the process of safely returning Koeberg Unit 2 to service”.
“The cause of the trip was due to problems with the feedwater pumps on the secondary circuit.”
The breakdown at Koeberg, one of Eskom’s most reliable plants, means that both Units 1 and 2 are out of service, a loss of over 1,900 MW of power.
Energy analyst Chris Yelland said: “Unit 1 at Koeberg is down for life extension and refueling. There is now no power from Koeberg for the time being.
“In these circumstances, it is quite hard to accept that Eskom’s Koeberg nuclear power station provides stable, reliable, despatchable, predictable ‘baseload’ power 24/7/365.”
All this means the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station is now drawing power from the grid or using generators to cool the nuclear core and avoid a nuclear reactor accident.
The return of one generation unit each at Duvha and Medupi did not make much of a difference on Sunday as two units at Kriel and Koeberg’s Unit 2 were taken out for maintenance.
Meanwhile, out in Limpopo, ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula played politics with the gravity of the country’s energy crisis.
“The current challenges of power outages are because the ANC has widened the provision of such services, through its social security net. The ANC has implemented the biggest electricity rollout in the country,” he said.
On Sunday there was no official word from President Cyril Ramaphosa, Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan and Minister of Minerals and Energy Gwede Mantashe.