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50% Chance of Total Grid Collapse Soon?-Not Likely

Kimberley’s social media is buzzing once again after Sol Plaatje Municipality shared a Fin24 article where Ted Blom argued that there is a 50% probability of an immanent total nation wide blackout.

There have been frequent speculation, opinions, articles and press releases throughout 2015 on the subject from similar claims of immanent collapse to statements from Government that such claims  are nothing more than a hoax.

Hoax or Reality?

Like with most claims the truth is usually found somewhere in between.

50% Chance of total collapse soon EskomWhile there is a definite probability of a nationwide total collapse of the power grid there is only a very small minority which believe that the probability is any higher than remote to highly unlikely.  Furthermore trying to portray the probability of total grid collapse into a percentage cannot be based on any good match or statistics.  There is nowhere near enough statistical or any other measurable data available on the subject.

With his “50% probability statement” Blom is stooping Eskom’s level of determining probability and risk in their notices, where frequently information without reference and data becomes meaningless.

Copies of original information below.

50% Chance of total collapse soon Tweet

50% Chance of total collapse soon FacebookJohannesburg – There is a more than 50% chance that the country’s energy grid will suffer a total collapse soon, energy analyst Ted Blom said on Wednesday.
“I believe that the probability of a grid meltdown is more than 50%,” he told a National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) panel at a public hearing in Johannesburg on Eskom’s application for a further hike in tariffs.

“A total grid collapse is what we don’t want to face because it will take you anything between a week and two weeks to recover, and I’m not even talking about the mayhem that will occur in the meantime.”
He said this was a topic that had been treated quietly until last Wednesday, where Eskom said there was a zero possibility of a grid collapse.
Blom then gave the rundown of his reasoning.
“According to my estimate, the weekend or overnight demand is around about 22 GW (gigawatts)… I might be wrong by a couple of gigawatts, I am not too worried about that.
“The peak demand is 35.5 GW as we are told by Eskom – the winter demand,” he said.
“These are the numbers that only came out in the last week from the ‘war room’ … that the serviced, or what you and I know as roadworthy generator sets are roughly 40% of the fleet. Fair condition, 12% of the fleet. Poor condition, 21% of the fleet, critical condition, 26% of the fleet.”
‘The balance is poor and critical’
Blom said that if you add up the fair and roadworthy sets, you would get around 20 GW.
“So you have 20 GW… the balance is poor and critical,” he said.
“The normal safety margin around the world is 15%, that is roughly 6.5 GW.
“Eskom’s new winter strategy, they told us proudly last week, will only have a 1 000 MW safety margin, and it is roughly 2.5% of what is considered an appropriate safety margin.
“So according to that, and I am willing to challenge anybody… I am forecasting that there is a better than 50% probability of a total grid collapse.”
Aeon Computer Kimberley

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