Lights to stay on during festive season

Eskom says with schools and businesses closing for the holidays, no load shedding is expected in December.

FILE: Cape Town's Christmas lights on display in Adderley Street. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - South Africans can breathe a sigh of relief, with no load shedding expected this December.

However, Eskom reiterates the public should brace itself for regular rolling blackouts over the next few years.

Load shedding was implemented on Saturday and Sunday for a second consecutive weekend.

The power utility is battling a raft of problems, which have seen the country plunged into darkness on a number of occasions.

Eskom says although it was able to increase the grid's electricity supply after rolling blackouts at the weekend, the system remains tight.

The power utility says it was able to repair three of its generators and build up its water and diesel reserves during load shedding.

But spokesperson Andrew Etzinger says electricity supply will require the use of emergency reserves.

"We are concerned that the usage of our diesel and pump storage power stations has been extensive during the course of Monday which does put the end of the week at risk, but we'll keep the public informed in that regard."

Etzinger however says the prognosis for the festive season looks good.

"As the schools close and as businesses close towards Christmas, we see a good amount of electricity which stabilises the grid."

But energy expert Chris Yelland says South Africans must brace themselves for regular blackouts.

"That is what Eskom has said, that's what the Department of Public Enterprises has said and I certainly think that's what we can expect."

Meanwhile, Eskom will be doing maintenance this December, in an attempt to deal with the high demand again in January.