NamPower in panic mode
NamPower feels heat as Eskom threatens load shedding
Power utility NamPower appeared to be in panic mode this week after South Africa’s Eskom declared an emergency due to a severe reduction in energy supply caused by a generator problem in Mpumalanga and the summer maintenance schedules.
On Wednesday, Eskom, one of Namibia’s biggest power benefactors announced that its system is facing severe constraints. Eskom warned its large industrial customers to reduce demand by 10% while individual consumers were asked to switch off non-essential appliances.
Newspaper reports in South Africa suggested that Eskom’s appeal to its customers was the most severe warning since rolling blackouts in 2008 that plunged the country into darkness.
Eskom warned that South Africans are at risk of load shedding at least until Friday next week as it battles to reduce demand from large electricity users.
Taking a cue from Eskom, NamPower issued a statement on Thursday pleading with users to reduce electricity usage by 10% as the power supply was under strain. “NamPower wishes to inform the public that the system of one of its regional suppliers and transmission partners, Eskom is currently under severe constraint due to the loss of additional generating units from their power stations and the extensive use of emergency reserves. The situation has prompted Eskom to declare an emergency.
“Despite local and regional power supply challenges, NamPower has continued to provide uninterrupted electricity supply to the nation.
“The situation that Eskom is currently facing does, however, impact on guaranteed supply in terms of direct imports from Eskom, ”NamPower’s statement said.
The local power utility said although it continues to supply power to customers through its local generation sources, in addition to imports, it is, however, important to state that the prevailing drought situation has had a severe impact on the water flow of the Kunene River, resulting in the reduced output of the Ruacana Hydro Power Station, its main generation source.
“Given this situation, we wish to remind our customers and the nation at large that the electricity supply situation remains critical.”
NamPower said while it continues to do everything in its power to ensure security of supply, it was appealing to all its customers to continue implementing electricity saving measures such as switching off air-conditioners, geysers and swimming pool pumps and all other non-essential appliances during peak times to reduce demand.
NamPower said its import from South Africa stood at 110MW. The company also imports 150 MW from Zimbabwe, 115 MW from Aggreko in Mozambique and 50MW from Zambia. Namibia has a daily average demand of 350 MW peaking at 520MW.