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Eskom: Diesel reserves could affect electricity supply

The system is expected to be tight in the early parts of the week but no rolling blackouts are expected.

Power lines are pictured in Johannesburg on 27 March, 2011. The global fight over fossil fuels has hit home in South Africa as the coal-dependent country debates its energy future before hosting UN climate talks. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom says it's concerned about its diesel reserves which could affect electricity supply this week.

It says the system is expected to be tight in the early parts of the week but no rolling blackouts are scheduled.

Eskom has alternative power stations which burn diesel however it says these are expensive to run and would normally only run at peak times.

The parastatal resumed stage 1 load shedding this morning which will be in place until 8 o'clock tonight.

Eskom's Tony Stott says they're still battling to build up capacity to ease the strain on the power grid.

"We tried to build up our reserves of diesel fuel for the open site gas turbines and the water in the dams that we use for the pump storage schemes and we want to get them at maximum capacity because we want to reduce the risk of load shedding."

As load shedding continues around the country today, Eskom has acknowledged it's experiencing problems with its schedules.

The utility has implemented load shedding after experiencing a number of 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.

Eskom's Tony Stott said, "We recognise that there are problems with the schedules and we are doing our best to overcome that."

There are concerns that wet weather conditions in some parts of Gauteng today could place further strain on the already fragile grid.

Large parts of Gauteng and the Western Cape have been hit by the blackouts with traffic lights out in many areas and major traffic congestion.

The power grid says it's working to build up more power reserves by the end of today to minimise disruptions for South Africans and businesses tomorrow morning.