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Load-shedding implemented across SA

Eskom says severe pressure on the national grid has forced it to begin cutting the power supply.

The troubled Medupi power station in Limpopo which saw violent strikes take on 24 July when Parliament's oversight committee for public enterprises visited the site to check on the plant's progress. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom has implemented stage one load shedding across the country, with the outages expected to last until 8pm this evening.

Earlier today, the utility declared a systems emergency, saying demand tonight would be above its capacity.

Eskom says the grid is extremely constrained and it has no choice but to implement power cuts.

"We are again faced with very high demand and we are expecting a record peak this evening at over 36,000MW," said spokesperson Andrew Etzinger. "At this stage, we simply don't have that capacity."

The parastatal has called for consumers to use electricity sparingly until 9pm.

But the lights should be back on before that time, says Etzinger.

"From 8pm we see a fairly rapid decline in electricity demand as many households go to bed."

For many Johannesburg residents, this is the second outage in as many days, with faults in two generators on Wednesday causing several blackouts.

Tonight's cuts are also likely to upset soccer fans hoping to watch the start of the 2014 Fifa World Cup on TV should the power not be restored on time.