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Eskom: Load shedding could last a week

Stage two load shedding was implemented at 9 am on Wednesday and is expected to last until 11 pm.

FILE: Stage two load shedding means those affected areas will be without power for about four hours. Picture: Pexels.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom said there was a possibility that the latest round of load shedding would last at least a week.

Stage two load shedding was implemented at 9 am on Wednesday and is expected to last until 11 pm.

This was due to a lack of generational capacity, the power utility said.

In a statement released on Wednesday morning, Eskom said: “The severe supply constraint being experienced has come about due to high levels of unplanned breakdowns that have exceeded the 10,500 megawatts limit. The supply constraint is caused by, among others, five generating units that are unavailable due to boiler tube leaks.”

It also apologised to customers: "We unreservedly apologise to South Africans for the negative impact this may have on them and want to assure the nation that we continue to work tirelessly to ensure the security of energy supply."

Speaking on 702's Eusebius McKaiser Show, Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer said: “Yesterday, we didn’t anticipate to lose two units and another one overnight. This has, unfortunately, brought us to the state that we’re in.”

Eskom said two of its units capable of producing 1,200 megawatts collectively tripped unexpectedly on Tuesday night.

This was due to a boiler tube leak and an object which was found inside a part.

Oberholzer said they were also caught off guard but were working to resolve capacity issues.

Last week, the struggling SOE also said it would be challenging energy regulator Nersa's latest tariff decision, warning that it would result in another financial disaster.

Nersa granted Eskom increases of 9.4% and 5.2% over three years while the utility had asked for 21%.

Stage two load shedding means those affected areas will be without power for about four hours.

The power utility also urged residents to continue using electricity sparingly throughout the day by:

• Setting air-conditioners’ average temperature at 23ºC;

• Switching off your geysers over peak periods;

• Using the cold water tap rather than using the geyser every time;

• Setting your swimming pool pump cycle to run twice a day, three hours at a time for optimal energy use;

• And at the end of the day, turning off computers, copiers, printers and fax machines at the
switch. Avoid standby or sleep mode.

A debilitating round of power cuts in February and March dented first-quarter economic output and reminded investors of the uphill struggle President Cyril Ramaphosa faces to revive Africa’s most industrialised economy.

Eskom produces more than 90% of the power in South Africa but has been hobbled by technical faults at its fleet of coal-fired power stations as well as a financial crisis that has severely hurt its liquidity position.

The government plans to split Eskom into three units for generation, transmission and distribution to make it more efficient. It is also giving Eskom bailouts to keep it afloat.

Here's how to check the load shedding schedule.
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Additional reporting by Reuters.

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