Eskom, South Africa’s power utility, announced that the country will be put under Stage 2 load shedding at 11:00, the announcement came about an hour before the load shedding was to begin.
According to Eskom, three generating units at its Kendal power station were taken offline, and the remaining fourth unit is anticipated to be shut down as well. The utility says that the conveyor belts supplying coal to these units are currently not running due to a “power fault” – and that “no coal is reaching the station at this point.”
Eskom also anticipates that the load shedding will get worse over the weekend.
“We, unfortunately, do expect the load shedding stage to escalate into the weekend but this can only be confirmed once we have a better understanding of these problems and when it is likely to be resolved,” the utility said in a Twitter post.
Adding to the utility’s woes, an additional generating unit at the Lethabo and Majuba power stations were delayed in returning to service, and a unit at Eskom’s Tutuka power station tripped.
South Africa had a two-day break from load shedding, with rolling blackouts suspended on Wednesday. Though Eskom has recently been implementing load shedding to support its failing grid after nearly-constant breakdowns at its power stations, usually multiple breakdowns at once which come with barely any warning.
Just yesterday, Eskom tweeted out that South Africa’s electricity grid was “currently stable.” It thanked South Africans for “using electricity efficiently.” Just hours later, multiple breakdowns have led to the necessity of Stage 2 load shedding.