Load shedding a reality once again

Eskom says the relentless rain has affected its coal supplies.

Eskom says the relentless rain has affected its coal supplies. Picture: Michelle Lubbe/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Hospitals and airports are running on generators this morning as Eskom implements load shedding for the first time in six years.

Eskom announced a power-grid emergency early this morning and then confirmed that power cuts would start at 9am.

The rains this week have affected the power utility's coal supply and load shedding is expected to last into the weekend.

Roports of suburbs without power in and around Johannesburg, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth are already streaming in.

Airports Company South Africa's Unathi Batyashe-Fillis says flights are being delayed at OR Tambo International Airport.

"OR Tambo Airport has been affected and we are currently running on backup power on our essential services while our services are being operated manually."

The Health Department's Joe Maila says hospitals need to make sure their generators are up and running so that patients and procedures are prioritised.

"They need to ensure their generators are working in case load shedding occurs. We hope that every hospital will ensure that their generators are working."

In Cape Town several suburbs are already without power.

The city of Cape Town's Neil Ballantyne says power outage schedules will be posted on the municipality's website.

"We have load shedding in place that will last until 10:30am and then from 10:00am we'll start taking out the other areas that are on our lists. From 12:00pm to 2pm we'll have another batch."

It remains to be seen what impact the power cuts will have on mining and other sectors.

Eskom says load shedding will last until at least 10pm and is again urging all users to reduce consumption.

Visit Eskom's website for a full load-shedding schedule.

The misery for Johannesburg residents started on their morning commute, with dozens of traffic lights out, and traffic into the major centres was worse than usual.

Meanwhile, people have taken to social networking site Twitter to voice their frustrations:

Power's out at my office in Bryanston and my house in Parktown North. Guess which one has a generator? Sigh... #loadshedding #ThisIsAfrica

Does number one experience load shedding at Nkandla or the fire pool generates electricity? #LoadShedding

I feel like #LoadShedding is a tsunami that's on its way to my area... I'm slowly seeing the ripple effect of all areas close to me

Under Thabo Mbeki, we never experienced load shedding. Government and Eskom are just a bunch of losers #LoadShedding

#loadshedding "I put it to you......." that you SUCK

Eskom gave up supplying electricity for Lent #loadshedding

#Loadshedding sucks! Had to reschedule all my patients! So annoyed

" @DennisRyderDA: #Eskom says Sorry we couldn't spend money to upgrade the power network. #IspentItOnNkandla #LoadShedding"

#ORTIA flight delays are ostensibly due to #Eskom #loadshedding pic.twitter.com/4X36Z6Zljh