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Load shedding: Rain adds to strained power grid

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

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

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

Yesterday Eskom announced scheduled blackouts following technical problems at its power stations.

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

Eskom has been experiencing problems since the collapse of a coal silo at the Majuba Power Station in Mpumalanga earlier this month.

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

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

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

The power utility says the power grid is extremely constrained.

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."

Eskom's Andrew Etzinger said load shedding may last throughout the weekend.

At the same time, the City of Cape Town has given the assurance that it will stick to the load shedding schedule.

There have been power outages in suburbs across the Mother City this morning as well.

The city's Neil Ballantyne said the city will not shed areas that aren't listed on the schedule.

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

LOAD SHEDDING RAISES CONCERNS

The 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 Majuba.

The utility has been experiencing problems since the collapse of the silo in Mpumalanga.

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.

To view the load shedding schedule, click here.