Eskom: 'We need to be realistic about SA's power situation'

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

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 later this year. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - 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.

Eskom's Andrew 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."

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

The power system is severely constrained due to limited diesel reserves, weather conditions and ongoing problems at the Majuba Power Station in Mpumalanga.

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

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.

Eskom's Andrew 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.