South Africans faced another round of power cuts on Sunday night as the country’s chronic Eskom electricity grid failures continue, despite reassurances from officials that there will be no system collapse in the face of increasing winter demand.

Stage 4 loadshedding was planned into Monday and will be “repeated daily until further notice,” said the utility provider. Eskom said the current round of cuts was due to more than 20,000 megawatts of capacity loss, most of it from unscheduled breakdowns.

“In the last 24 hours, a generation unit at Duvha Power Station was taken out of service due to breakdown. Furthermore, the delay in returning units to service at Arnot, Camden, Kendal, Tutuka and two generating units at Hendrina power stations continue to add to the current capacity constraints,” the company said.

Eskom, long at the center of corruption investigations and operational failures, said Thursday that the entire power system is under severe strain and that going through the winter months will be difficult. Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, the electricity minister newly appointed in March, has been visiting Toyota and other automobile industry facilities to better understand the loadshedding impacts on their work.

He plans a trip to the Kusile Power Station, with four of its units offline, on Monday.

“We fully comprehend the adverse impact that rotational loadshedding has on South Africa’s already fragile economy and its people. We are doing everything to mitigate the intensity of rotational loadshedding including taking lessons from the rest of the world,” said Eskom Board Chairperson Mpho Makwana.

At the same time, Eskom is denying media claims of a looming national threat of grid collapse.

“The grid is by no means at a higher or imminent risk of a collapse and it would take an unforeseen and sudden sequence of events that results in a cascading collapse of the transmission or generation system, leading to a complete loss of supply across the country,” said Eskom in a statement.

Image: Kgosientsho Ramokgopa

 

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