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Eskom declares power emergency

For the second time in less than four months, Eskom is calling on customers to reduce power use.

For the second time in less than four months, Eskom is calling on customers to reduce power use.Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Industrial customers have been asked to cut back on electricity consumption, Eskom said on Thursday.

The power utility asked major companies to reduce their electricity usage by at least 10 percent until 9pm on tonight.

Eskom spokesperson Andrew Etzinger says the power grid remains exceptionally tight.

He also called on ordinary customers to help reduce electricity usage.

"If we can do that, we'll come through. Our large industrial customers are very supportive. They don't like it of course because this is a very inconvenient operation for them," Etzinger says.

"We're asking that the broader customer base please assist [us] by reducing [energy consumption] because then we can give power back to our large industrial customers."

In a statement released on Thursday, the company said, "The power system is severely constrained today due to the loss of additional generating units from our power station fleet, reduced imports and the extensive use of emergency reserves.

"This has necessitated the need for Eskom to declare an emergency in terms of the approved regulatory protocols, as a measure to protect the national electricity grid."

This is the second time since November that an emergency has been declared by the parastatal.

Last time, the utility said emergency maintenance work meant customers had to cut usage.

The emergency was lifted after around 24 hours.

Since then, CEO Brian Dames resigned from his role at the company, citing personal reasons.