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Eskom building up reserves for next week

The utility says it wants to minimise disruptions for residents and businesses on Monday morning.

Power lines running to a coal power station near Johannesburg. Picture: Kim Ludbrook/EPA.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom says it's aiming to have built up enough power reserves by the end of the weekend in order to minimise disruptions for residents and businesses on Monday morning.

Large parts of Gauteng and the Western Cape are without power today as Eskom's implemented load shedding to help ease the strain on the power grid.

Stage two load shedding has started in parts of the country, with some areas experiencing lengthy outages.

Eskom says the power grid is extremely constrained due to unforeseen technical problems at its power stations.

The utility's Tony Stott says, "We need to do the load shedding to be able to build up reserves at our pump storage scheme so it's the water, we need to be able to pump the water back into the top dam and build up reserves for diesel fuel so that next week we are able to meet the demand for electricity."

LOAD SHEDDING TO CONTINUE UNTIL 10PM

Eskom says load shedding is expected to be in place across the country until at least 10 o'clock this evening.

Stott says, "It's not always possible to immediately return everybody and switch the power back on so we prefer to say round about 10pm or a little bit earlier if we can."

Eskom says the country's power system is extremely constrained due to depleting water and diesel reserves at its power stations.

Earlier this month, a coal storage silo at the Majuba Power Station in Mpumalanga collapsed, resulting in widespread power cuts further adding to Eskom's grid woes.

The silo held more than 10,000 tons of coal and affected coal supplies to all six units at the power station.

THUNDERSTORMS FORECAST FOR JHB

The wet weather which is forecast for parts of Gauteng this weekend, could place further strain on the already fragile power grid.

Weather forecaster Bransby Bulo says the wet weather is expected to hit Johannesburg later today.

"There is a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms for this afternoon and for Sunday there is an 80 percent chance of rain."

Consumers have been urged to cut back on consumption to avoid a national blackout.

To view the load shedding schedule, click here.