Low probability of load shedding, but Eskom warns outages could return at short notice

Eskom says there is a low probability of load shedding for the rest of the week, as the broken Medupi coal conveyor belt and faulty power units return to service. 

No load shedding is expected for Wednesday, however Eskom warned that the power supply is vulnerable, and that any shocks could result in more outages.

"The electricity system remains constrained and vulnerable and any unexpected shift such as unplanned breakdowns could result in load shedding at short notice," the utility said in a statement on Wednesday morning.

South Africa was subjected to five days of load shedding last week, in part due to a broken coal conveyor belt at the  Medupi power station in Lephalale, Limpopo. 

Read: Load shedding: How series of failures, design flaws brought Medupi to its knees

The 7km-long conveyor belt transported 4,000 tons per hour to Medupi. The tail-end of the belt suddenly snapped and twisted, with the weight of the coal damaging the machine. 

The broken conveyor belt has now been fixed, with 700MW already been added to the grid.

The power cuts were also due to boiler leaks at six power-generating units. Several of these units are now online again, including two units at Hendrina which tripped on Monday due to a transmission fault, Eskom said.

Eskom continues to replenish its water reserves for the pump storage schemes and diesel reserves for the open cycle gas turbines which are used to avoid load shedding.

Eskom asked South Africans to use electricity sparingly, by switching off geysers as well as non-essential lighting and electricity appliances.