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Eskom: Power demands rise as people return to work

The utility says while the national grid is under pressure, the situation is manageable at this stage.

FILE: Eskom says the return to work of many South Africans has predictably led to an increase in electricity demand. Picture: EPA

CAPE TOWN - Eskom says the return to work of many South Africans has predictably led to an increase in electricity demand.

The utility says while the national grid is under a certain amount of pressure, the situation is manageable at this stage.

The country was hit by rolling blackouts after a silo at its Majuba Power Station collapsed in November last year.

The power utility was then forced to implement rolling blackouts due to limited generating capacity and several problems at power stations.

Eskom's Andrew Etzinger says pressure on the grid is expected to increase over the coming weeks.

"From next week we will be under a little bit more pressure for the rest of the summer unfortunately, so there is always a risk of load shedding."

Last month, the African National Congress called on Eskom to fast-track the construction of the Medupi and Kusile power stations to alleviate the strain on the grid.

Etzinger says one of the unit's at the Medupi is expected to come online soon.

"Medupi, our first unit there, will be coming on stream very shortly. Thereafter Medupi and Kusile will be adding substantial capacity to the grid at regular intervals."

On Monday, Eskom said the risk of load shedding remains low despite many businesses opening for the New Year.

Etzinger said the system was stable and no load shedding was expected.

"We've seen a pickup in demand but not to the extent that we had anticipated. At the moment, the grid is stable."

He said while demand in summer is predictable, the weather isn't and a sustained period of rain could interrupt the utility's ability to meet demand.

Industry experts on Sunday slammed the parastatal for apparently "sugar-coating" the country's power situation for the year ahead.

Eskom's spokesperson said the power utility used the holiday period to run tests and conduct maintenance.

To learn more about load shedding and how to survive the blackouts visit our _ survival guide._