Eskom can't cope without additional power stations

Eskom managed to make it through the festive season without implementing load shedding.

If more power stations are not added to the grid, the power station cannot cope with the current demand. Picture: EPA.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom says it doubled its maintenance over the festive season but its efforts have fallen short of ruling out load shedding this year.

The utility had to implement load shedding several times last year due to limited generating capacity, problems at some of its power stations and technical issues.

Yesterday Eskom lost two generators, making the power grid extremely vulnerable.

Although it has since stabilised, rolling blackouts are expected in the near future.

Eskom managed to make it through the festive season without implementing load-shedding, something many South Africans feared.

The parastatal's Andrew Etzinger says the company's technical team spent most of December maintaining existing power stations.

"We've literally doubled the amount of maintenance. Fortunately a couple of weeks isn't enough to do the long term, deep maintenance and refurbishment our aging power station needs."

Etzinger says big businesses have also come on board to reduce electricity demand.

"They have really come to the party in a number of ways. They have really become more energy efficient in their operations."

However, the reality is, if more power stations are not added to the grid, the power station cannot cope with the current demand.

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.