Eskom: SA can prepare for more rolling blackouts

The power utility says the electricity grid will remain vulnerable for the rest of summer.

The power utility says reserves are expected to be low again. Picture: EPA.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom says with the Majuba Power Station only operating at 50 percent, the electricity grid will remain vulnerable for the rest of the summer.

In November a silo at the company's largest power station collapsed placing severe pressure on it to keep the lights on.

The utility says with the economy expected to get back on track when most South African businesses re-open on Monday, the reserves are expected to be low again.

The power utility says South Africans can prepare themselves for more rolling blackouts over the next few months.

The company's Andrew Etzinger says, "From Eskom's side we are appealing again to homeowners and businesses to please use electricity sparingly so we can come through summer without load-shedding, but it is a risk and we are vulnerable."

Etzinger says the power utility used the holiday period to run tests and conduct maintenance.

"At the moment we have about 27,000 megawatts available but the reason for that comes to part two, is that we are doing a lot of maintenance which will in large part be drawing to an end over the next few days, in anticipation of Monday."

However, Energy Expert Chris Yelland says Eskom's unplanned maintenance over the December period was not very high.

"My deep concern is that the planned maintenance over this Christmas period was not very high, the unplanned maintenance was exceptionally high, double their aspiration. The aspiration was to have 10 percent unplanned outages, they had 20 percent."