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Eskom aiming for load shedding-free week

South Africans have experienced rolling blackouts almost every day during the evening peak hours.

FILE: Eskom's Megawatt Park offices in Johannesburg. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom says it expects no load shedding for the week ahead.

The power utility says it was able to keep the lights on for the rest of last week after its Medupi Power Station produced about 800 megawatts of power, adding more stability to the national grid.

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.

It has also urged customers to use electricity sparingly as temperatures begin to drop in the evenings.

"Our ambition is not to have load shedding in the first place, but I do continue to monitor the situation, if it does change from where we are now, then we will give due notice to the nation as to where we are. But from our side, the plan is not to have load shedding at all," says Eskom's Khulu Pasiwe.

Meanwhile, trade unions and civil society organisations have united to fight the ongoing electricity crisis with a special conference taking place next week where an action plan will be drafted and presented to Eskom as alternative ways to tackle the issue.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) and Solidarity are among the groups who will be meeting for four days next week.

They claim workers have been excluded from the power utility's "war room". Electricity hikes, load shedding and clean power are among the list of things that will be discussed at the conference which will start on Tuesday.

Numsa's Karl Cloete says if workers don't fight against the monopoly organisation, the impact on the poor and workers will be far reaching.

"To develop a strategic campaign that can unite a broad social force on a national scale around winnable demands that will resonate with a broad number of our people to unite in strength an existing struggle from different organisations."

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

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

For the Gauteng load shedding schedule click here.

For the Cape Town load shedding schedule click here.

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