Eskom has extended load shedding until 06h00 on Thursday (6 February) as it replenishes diesel supplies for its open-cycle gas turbines.
The power utility said that it will try to avoid load shedding between 06h00 – 09h00 to minimise the impact the power cuts will have on traffic.
Presenting a system status briefing on Friday (31 January), Eskom chief executive officer Andre de Ruyter said that South Africans should expect more load shedding as the embattled power utility revises its current maintenance plans.
De Ruyter indicated that the blackouts would be more strictly planned as maintenance becomes more regular.
“Instead of deferring maintenance we intend to return to the cycle of maintaining our plants as per the original manufacturer’s guidelines.
“This is not unusual, but I think in the past we neglected to perform scheduled maintenance as required, and those legacies are now clearly coming home and causing us to have unreliable equipment.
“This will result in an increased probability of load shedding over the medium-term (18 months) as we fix the system.”
He said that Eskom would also increase its demand management efforts – including the return of ‘traffic light system’ which will broadcast the severity of Eskom’s power issues to television viewers.
“We will, unfortunately, have an increase in load shedding. We are going to have to do this in a structured, careful, managed way,” he said.