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Eskom collapsed silo situation ‘very serious’

The power utility warned of wide-spread load-shedding today following a severe technical failure.

Eskom's Arnot Power Station in Mpumalanga. Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - Eskom has described the current situation involving a collapsed silo at one of its power stations as very serious.

The power utility warned of wide-spread load shedding today following a severe technical failure at the Majuba Power Station this weekend.

The station is one of the utility's largest coal-fired power stations.

The power utility says a crack in a coal storage silo yesterday afternoon caused the loss of 1,800 megawatts.

Power cuts are likely to take place until about 10 tonight and could continue throughout the week.

Eskom's Andrew Etzinger says the power station that's been taken offline will result in a big loss to the electricity grid.

"We are working very hard to address the situation, bringing in mobile coal conveyers from other power stations. But as long as the conveyers are not able to get coal in, we could potentially have a deficit that carries over into next week."

Large parts of the country are now in the dark after the parastatal announced that the power system will be under severe strain.

Energy expert Chris Yelland has warned this could put the country back in the 2008 electricity crisis.

Etzinger adds it will take a while to get the station back online.

"Unfortunately It's not as simple as wheeling up the mobile conveyer, there are also other parts of the power station that also need to be changed."

On Thursday the utility had to instruct customers to cut down 10 percent of their electricity usage to avoid widespread blackouts.

The widespread blackouts are expected from 8am to 10pm today.

To read the full load shedding schedule, click here.

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