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Eskom cannot rule out the risk of rolling blackouts

The country is currently experiencing stage one load shedding.

FILE: The parastatal had to escalate load shedding to stage three this week. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom on Thursday said the risk of ramping up rolling blackouts beyond stage one still remained.

However, it said it was in a much better situation compared to the past two days as several generators had been brought back to service.

The country was experiencing stage one load shedding - the fifth consecutive day of rolling black outs across the country.

The parastatal had to escalate load shedding to stage three this week; as unplanned maintenance had to be done.

Eskom's Khulu Phasiwe said the situation had improved, with more generators expected to come back online by Friday.

"Some of our generating units have been returned back to service, and as a result we are starting the day in a much better position than we were in the last few days. But we are not out of the woods yet, which is why we are urging customers to use electricity sparingly."

Phasiwe said Thursday's situation depended on the power demand.

"If there is more power demand or if there is a breakdown on some of our units we will be under severe pressure."

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the utility had to escalate rolling blackouts to stage three due to unplanned outages.

On Wednesday, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown told the media that Eskom's implementation of stage three load shedding on Tuesday was not an indication South Africa is close to a blackout.

Brown said Wednesday's load shedding was necessary because additional units had to be taken out of service for unplanned maintenance because of technical faults.

The parastatal spends R1 billion a month on emergency diesel supplies to help keep the lights on.

What can you buy with Eskom's R1 billion every month?

To see the load shedding schedule, click here.

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