Stage one load shedding planned for Wednesday

Eskom has announced that it plans to implement stage one load shedding on Wednesday (4 February) from 10am to 10pm as the group’s systems remain under pressure.

Eskom had previously noted that the power grid would remain under pressure the entire week as a unit of its Koeberg power station had to be taken offline due to a technical fault.

The unit, which supplies 900MW of power, was scheduled to be taken down for maintenance next week.

Stage one load shedding allows for up to 1000MW of the national load to be cut, stage two for up to 2000MW, and stage three for up to 4000MW.

The unit was still down on Tuesday, with Eskom saying it was “trying to sync it into service. It will take a few days but it should be online soon.”

South Africans have had a dark start to 2015 amid an intensifying power and financial crisis at Eskom.

The group is heavily indebted, and has missed years of deadlines to switch on two new power stations. The power utility is mulling tariff increases to recover its financial losses.

Moody’s Investors Service said on Tuesday, that beyond a large increase in tariffs, a material improvement in Eskom’s financial profile is not expected before new generation capacity comes on stream.

The agency expected Eskom’s credit metrics to remain very weak in the next 12 to 18 months.

Reuters reported in January that government may deliver the R10 billion it promised to help fund Eskom as soon as June 2015.

Bloomberg reported that the South African government is likely to sell its 13.9% stake in Vodacom – worth around R28 billion at the current share price – to fund the utility.

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Stage one load shedding planned for Wednesday