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Eskom returns to stability but warns of possible breaks

Eskom managed to bring several other generators which were being maintained back online last night.

FILE: Power lines are pictured in Johannesburg. AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom says the electricity grid has returned to stability this morning after a close call that nearly led to load shedding on Wednesday when two generator sets broke down.

Eskom managed to bring several other generators which were being maintained back online last night.

But it has warned its reserve margins remain tight and extra electricity generating power was depleted for most of the afternoon.

The limited generating capacity was caused by inadequate maintenance and increased demand as businesses reopened.

Eskom spokesperson Andrew Etzinger says things will get back to normal from tomorrow.

"There are several generators that will be coming back into service after maintenance, these are expected during the course of this evening. So at this stage, according to the plan, we will be in a better position tomorrow."

He says the power grid remains vulnerable and this could be the reality for the next three years.

"We are vulnerable and certainly from next week, we will be more vulnerable than we are this week. Very much the same situation as we left off at the middle of December, the power station still at half capacity.

"A lot of plant are out due to technical problems and that's where we are and will be for the next three years."

More than two-thirds of the utility's generators operate with aging equipment and a lack of maintenance is understood to be the cause of the severe constraints.

The power giant on Tuesday confirmed that one unit at the Medupi power station will go live in mid-2015 despite a missed December deadline.

Etzinger said construction of unit six at Medupi was complete but the parastatal was now conducting a complex cleaning procedure, which was taking longer than anticipated.