Eskom: Load shedding back on the cards

Eskom says it is investigating why 4 generators stopped working.

FILE: The power utility says the risk of rolling blackouts is high. Picture: EPA.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom says there is now a high risk of load shedding this week after four generators stopped working.

Eskom's Khulu Phasiwe says technicians are still trying to establish what caused the generators to stop working.

He however says they are working round the clock to fix them.

"This morning we lost the use of four generating units which increases the risk of load shedding for today and possibly for the rest of the week. However, our technicians are still working on the four units, to determine what the cause was."

Routine maintenance is also taking place in the Fourways area today.

The utility has been battling with limited generating capacity, problems at its power stations and a shortage of diesel supplies.

Eskom Chief Executive Officer Tshediso Matona last week warned that rolling blackouts will be a reality for the next few months as the parastatal tries to stabilise the power system.

But on Monday, Eskom said South Africans can expect "a load shedding free" festive season, with Phasiwe saying the risk for load shedding remains low.

"Load shedding is low because we're gradually bringing back the grid into service."

At the same time, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was appointed last week to help turnaround Eskom, South African Airways and the South African Post Office.

A technical team will ensure other interventions are implemented such as co-generation opportunities.

Government is implementing an energy mix of solar, wind, coal, gas and nuclear to help increase generating capacity.

Eskom's inability to meet demand in December, when electricity usage usually dips, underscores the precarious state of South Africa's power supply due to years of underfunding.

The utility, which supplies virtually all of South Africa's power, said last month the government's promised R20 billion cash injection wouldn't be enough to ease funding constraints and help it avoid a credit downgrade.