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Eskom: System overload responsible for some blackouts

Eskom says there are isolated cases where systems have failed to function accurately after blackouts.

Electricity pylon. Picture: EPA/OMER SALEEM.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom says it's aware of incidents where residents have been without power long after the stipulated load shedding hours.

This weekend, limited generating capacity is due to urgent planned maintenance.

Officials say while the system is designed not to have an effect on electrical infrastructure, there are isolated cases where systems have failed to function accurately after blackouts.

Some technical faults have been attributed to overloaded systems once all power is reconnected.

In Johannesburg, officials are still investigating the cause of a sudden fire at a sub-station in Bryanston last night.

Eskom says it will work with municipalities to find solutions to identify glitches.

Eskom's Andrew Etzinger says, "In certain cases, municipalities don't have the control equipment to remotely switch back customers and they are needing to get out to sites in bakkies, which is quite an extensive manual process. All in all, it has worked generally well."

ESKOM: WE NEED TO BE REALISTIC

Eskom says while it hopes this weekend's scheduled blackouts will be the last for the rest of the year it needs to have a realistic approach to South Africa's power situation.

Load shedding has been reduced to stage 1 today for most parts of the country.

However Joburg City Power says Johannesburg residents can expect stage 2 blackouts to be rolled out in future.

While power supply is being heavily regulated, Eskom says it's pleased with the energy reserves built up this weekend.

Etzinger says, "Obviously from Eskom's side, we want this to be the very last but realistically, we know that the summer is going to be tough and there will be time when we are going to be short of capacity when we pick up technical problems as has happened over the last couple of weeks."

The utility says it hopes to build up at least 2,000 megawatts of power reserves today to sustain the country throughout the week.

TECHNICAL ISSUES PLAGUE GRID

More strain was placed on the grid on Saturday with a conveyor belt failure at the Lethabo Power Station in the Vaal which supplies 10 percent of the country's power.

Earlier this month a coal silo at Majuba collapsed and that led to rolling blackouts across the country.

Generating capacity has been an issue for some time and this can only be rectified once new power stations come online.

The power system is severely constrained due to limited diesel reserves and wet weather conditions.

Officials say today's load shedding is due to maintenance at a hydroelectric power station in Mozambique where South Africa imports a portion of its electricity.

Etzinger said, "Our reserves recovered very well yesterday, today our challenge is the maintenance taking place at the Cahora Bassa hydroelectric power station in Mozambique, we are in a stronger position going into the week."

Furthermore, the power utility says it has now managed to restore power to the Bryanston area which has been affected following an explosion at a sub-station last night.

The utility will now work with City Power to establish the cause of the fire.

Consumers affected by load shedding can check the schedules by clicking here.

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