Senior Eskom officials met on Saturday evening (19 October) in an effort to keep the lights on for the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup quarterfinal clash against Japan, the Sunday Times reports.
The paper said that the embattled power utility has been inundated with pleas on social media from fans who may miss the match if load shedding hits at an inconvenient moment.
In a statement published at 21h56 on Saturday, Eskom said that no load shedding was planned for Sunday but warned that the power system remains volatile.
It added that while it was making every effort to avoid load shedding, it may be implemented on short notice should there be a significant shift in plant performance and increased unplanned technical breakdowns.
“While some units returned to service as planned, emergency diesel and water reserves had to be used to supplement capacity as generating units returned later than expected,” it said.
“Eskom hopes to replenish diesel reserves for our open cycle gas turbines and to increase water levels at our pumped storage schemes so as to avoid and minimise load shedding the coming week.”
“Plans are progressing well to repair the broken conveyor belt at Medupi power station to achieve full operation, and to expedite the return of units that experienced technical problems.”
Eskom said that it would keep customers up to date on any changes and asked South Africans to use electricity sparingly.
The power utility was on track to avoid load shedding over the weekend, but it was hit by a major setback on Friday morning when three additional units went offline due to faults.
It lost capacity at Medupi 3, 4 and 5 due to coal and ash handling issues.
This is in addition to the conveyer belt that failed on Saturday (12 October) at the power station.