High risk of weekend load shedding

Eskom says the grid will be under pressure due to maintenance at its Cahora-Bassa transmission line.

FILE: Electricity pylon. Picture: EPA

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom says there's a high risk of load shedding this weekend, due to urgent maintenance work that has to be done.

Last weekend, there were rolling blackouts throughout the country and the system was extremely tight, with the wet weather in Gauteng adding to a difficult two days for consumers.

Eskom has been battling with limited generating capacity, issues at its Majuba Power Station and financial problems, forcing it to offer staff voluntary retrenchment packages.

The power giant's Andrew Etzinger says fortunately the system looks stable for today.

"On Sunday we're expecting the grid to be under pressure. This is as a result of maintenance work that needs to be conducted on the Mozambican side of the Cahora-Bassa scheme. The power station at Cahora-Bassa will be out of service from basically early morning to lunch time."

Eskom says a portion of the capacity at its Cahora-Bassa transmission line, normally imported from the system, will be unavailable while maintenance is underway.

The weekend will also be utilised to build up water reserves for the pumped storage schemes, which use water to generate electricity.

Eskom says it also needs to conserve diesel supplies for the week ahead, adding that its load shedding schedules are available to its customers on its website.


Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has warned there are tough times ahead for South Africans hit by load shedding.

Addressing a debate on the country's energy crisis in Parliament on Thursday, the minister said things might get better by 2018, if the right steps are taken.

Despite this outlook, the African National Congress (ANC) is insisting there is no crisis at Eskom.

"The good news is that people, who know what they are talking about, are saying that if we take certain critical actions there is every reason to believe that from 2018, things are going to be looking a whole lot better."

She says the first challenge is making Eskom financially stable.

Brown says the bottom line is that the next couple of years will be tough, but she says Eskom and government understand the problems and believe with the right commitment, there are solutions.