Eskom denies system collapse

This is despite the parastatal implementing stage two load shedding across the country.

FILE: Eskom has insituted load shedding across South Africa for the fourth time this year. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom has denied its system is collapsing despite the parastatal announcing that its implemented stage two load shedding.

The rolling blackouts are expected to last until about 10pm tonight.

This is the fourth time this year that the utility has implemented rolling blackouts.

The cuts have led to traffic jams during peak driving time on the country's roads.

Eskom says it would have preferred to wait until people arrived home but simply had no choice.

Spokesperson Andrew Etzinger says, "The system is certainly not collapsing. What we are faced with is a situation where from time to time because of underlying capacity constraints in the country, we are going to be running short."

The utility says it finds itself in a difficult situation where it now needs a significant amount of diesel that has not been budgeted or planned for.

It says it burnt R1.3 billion rand worth of diesel last month and has only managed to secure enough funding to run its gas turbines until the middle of January.

Etzinger says, "We would have burnt more if it were not for logistical issues getting that amount of diesel into our power station against a total annual budget of R2.1 billion."

He says there's no need for panic.

"We don't let the system drift into a state of collapse. We are in control, we apologise for the inconvenience. We do need to bring supply and demand into balance which is what we are doing at the moment."

City Power's Sol Masolo meanwhile says residents should look up their areas on the utility's website.

"We advise customers to look at the City Power website so that they can see how the load shedding schedule is going to affect them."

The latest bout of load shedding comes after the country experienced a second consecutive weekend of rolling blackouts at the weekend.

Eskom has been battling with increased demand due to a shortage of diesel and water reserves for the gas turbines and water pumps as well as several problems at its Majuba Power Station in Mpumalanga.

Last month, a coal silo at Majuba collapsed which led to rolling blackouts across the country.

The weekend blackouts were due to general upkeep measures at the Cahora-Bassa hydroelectric power station in Mozambique.

South Africa imports a portion of its electricity from the scheme.

Click here to view Eskom's load shedding schedule.

Click here for an interactive map of the load shedding schedule in Cape Town.