Can we expect load-shedding in 2022? Eskom CEO says it's likely

Eskom group CEO Andre de Ruyter says load-shedding outages are necessary interventions that will deliver long-term benefits and security of the energy supply. File image.
Eskom group CEO Andre de Ruyter says load-shedding outages are necessary interventions that will deliver long-term benefits and security of the energy supply. File image.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

Eskom group CEO André de Ruyter has warned of a dark year ahead due to “necessary” load-shedding. 

On Thursday the embattled power utility announced that major projects and outages are going to be undertaken this year and will increase the risk of load-shedding. 

This comes after Eskom confirmed the replacement of steam generators at the Koeberg nuclear power station is set to cost R20bn.

De Ruyter said load-shedding outages were necessary interventions that will deliver long-term benefits and the security of energy supply.

“Despite our good performance in recent weeks, particularly over the festive season, surpassing that of the previous quarter and the same period in 2020, much needs to be done for Eskom to achieve operational sustainability and ensure energy security for SA,” he said.

Key interventions, among other things, are to extend the operating life of the Koeberg station, which De Ruyter said will see the facility operating at half its generating capacity for most of the year.

“As we continue to turn around the situation, we would like to caution against increasing criminal activities on our networks and our assets which result in increased risks of customer interruptions, public safety concerns and financial losses.

“We urge security and law enforcement agencies to deal decisively with these criminal elements as their activities could have a very negative impact on our economy if not addressed decisively,” he said.

Eskom group executive for transmission Segomoco Scheppers said most coal power stations are operating past midway of their operational life, at an average of 42 years, resulting in high levels of breakdowns.

He said the road to sustainability will be long and hard and load-shedding will continue to be a factor.

“As we continue to perform reliability maintenance and refurbishment projects to address the lack of power station reliability, an elevated risk of load-shedding remains,” said Scheppers.

Unit 2 of Koeberg station offline

Eskom said unit 2 of the Koeberg power station has been taken offline for a long-term outage with a major project to extend its operating life by another 20 years.

“Considering the power station has been largely depreciated, the steam generator replacement (SGR) project at a budgeted R20bn for both units, will enable Koeberg to continue to deliver zero-carbon electricity at a highly competitive cost, making the SGR project one of the most financially attractive in the Eskom portfolio.”

Eskom said it will use the maintenance and refuelling outage on unit 2 to implement the SGR project, which entails the replacement of the unit’s three steam generators.

“This operation is scheduled to take place over the next five months. During this time unit 2’s 920MW contribution will not be available, further constraining supply.

“All other Koeberg long-term outage activities are continuing as scheduled, with the formal application to extend the operating licence submitted to the National Nuclear Regulator and accepted for further processing,” said the power utility. 

It said Koeberg continues to be one of the most reliable power stations in the Eskom generation fleet, with the cheapest primary energy costs.

Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.