Load shedding escalates to stage two

Eskom says the power grid is currently under severe pressure.

FILE: Eskom says it has been forced to implement load shedding  due to unforeseen technical problems at its power stations. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom has now implemented stage two of load shedding due to unforeseen technical problems at its power stations.

The utility says the power grid is currently under severe pressure and that load shedding is expected to continue this weekend.

Stage two means the frequency of power cuts has been increased.

"There are many factors and certainly a big factor is the reduced output at our Majuba Power Station. We are seriously asking our customers to reduce electricity usage wherever possible," said the utility's Andrew Etzinger.

"A big factor is the reduced output at the Majuba Power Station. It's better for us to implement load shedding over the weekend than over the week from an economic perspective," said Etzinger.

This is the third time the utility has implemented load shedding this year.

The City of Cape Town says power cuts are going according to schedule.

Various parts of Cape Town have been affected.

The city's Neil Ballantyne says, "We are sensitive with load shedding the CBD, the fringe areas in the city have also been restored they are scheduled for shedding for four. We have that area back."

At the same time, Gauteng residents will have to brace themselves for wet weather conditions.

The South African Weather Service says Gauteng can expect a wet weekend ahead as heavy rainfall is expected in the province.

The Ekurhuleni Municipality has also started cutting electricity in several areas at Eskom's request.

The municipality said it has been asked to reduce its load by at least 150 megawatts.

The most recent rolling blackouts have raised concerns about whether the power system will have adequate reserve margins in the near future.

Eskom earlier said it was looking into reports of another weakness found at one of its coal silos at the Majuba Power Station.

The utility has been experiencing problems since the collapse of a silo at the power station in Mpumalanga earlier this month.

The collapse led to rolling blackouts across the country on 2 November.

A silo generally has a life span of 50 years, and the coal-fired plant is one of Eskom's newest, only opening in 1996.

Click here to view City Power's load shedding schedule for November.

Click here to view the Ekurhuleni Municipality's load shedding schedule.