Medupi able to produce 800 megawatts

This has helped stabilise the power supply system and could help prevent load shedding.

FILE: Medupi power station. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom has confirmed its Medupi power station was able to produce 800 megawatts for the first time on Thursday which stabilised the system and allowed the utility to avoid load shedding.

South Africans have experienced rolling blackouts almost every day during the evening peak hours, but Thursday was an exception because more generating capacity was added to the grid.

While unit six of Medupi is still being tested, June is expected to be a better month with a lower risk of load shedding.

Eskom's Khulu Phasiwe said, "Our engineers are still continuing with tests just to make sure that it continuously produces that 800 megawatts. Once they are comfortable on the number of hours they are able to produce consistently, they will be able to commercialise it and turn it over to Eskom."

On Wednesday, President Jacob Zuma told Parliament that load shedding could continue for another two to three years.

Eskom has been cutting supply to allow for the maintenance of aging power generators and to cope with unscheduled breakdowns.

Zuma was replying to Tuesday's debate on his Presidency budget vote, when he was criticised for not mentioning the electricity crisis choking the economy.

Zuma said demand on the grid was increased by Eskom electrifying 160,000 homes.