High probability of load shedding starting today: Eskom

Eskom has warned that the combination of a cold front and a number of technical failures means that there is a high possibility of load shedding being reintroduced.

Speaking in a Cape Talk interview on Thursday (9 July), Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said that the utility’s generation units are constrained.

“There is a high probability of load shedding during the evenings between 17h00 and 21h00, starting today,” he said.

“These machines, as we keep reminding the people of South Africa, are quite unreliable and prone to break down when they’re run hard. That has happened and we have had quite a few breakdowns.”

Mantshantsha said that there was added pressure as more businesses return to work after lockdown, and he noted that there has been additional demand due to the cold front.

“We have therefore had to use all available resources, including diesel to generate electricity, but at may not be enough in the next few days.”

“At this point, if we have to (introduce load shedding) it might be stage 1.”

On Wednesday Eskom warned that a generation unit each at its Kendal and Tutuka power stations had tripped, adding to a Tutuka unit that tripped on Tuesday evening.

While the power utility said that it had worked to return some of its units to service it cautioned about the strain on its network.

The power utility has already begun to restrict power supply to those municipalities who have not made payment – ‘breaching its electricity supply agreement with Eskom’.

Moreover, the group has also implemented a  ‘load reduction’ strategy to avoid network overloading in high-density areas prone to illegal connections, meter bypasses and vandalism of electricity infrastructure.

The South African Weather Service meanwhile warned of ‘bitterly cold, wet and windy weather’ over parts of South Africa over the next few days.

Read: Eskom commits to complete Medupi and Kusile power stations

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High probability of load shedding starting today: Eskom