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S. Africans fed up & tired: Impact of load shedding felt nationally

The utility turned up the level of scheduled load shedding from stage 2 to 4 on Friday, citing capacity issues caused by high demand and breakdowns.

Picture: Pixabay.com

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - Vodacom said its customers nationwide are experiencing connectivity issues due to the power cuts implemented by Eskom.

The utility turned up the level of scheduled load shedding from stage 2 to 4 on Friday, citing capacity issues caused by high demand and breakdowns.

Eskom said that “wet weather” made it difficult for power stations to use coal.

The rolling blackouts will persist until Saturday morning. However, the power company said load shedding could persist throughout the weekend.

• How to check your load shedding schedule

Vodacom’s Byron Kennedy said they had a plan in place.

“Out towers do use batteries as a backup, but these have limited power and may fail. We have deployed generators at numerous sites across the country and we’re wrong hard to keep customers connected.”

Hospitals have also been impacted by load shedding.

The Gauteng Health Department said hospitals were impacted by load shedding.

The department's Kwara Kekana said they needed a reliable power source at hospitals.

“Our facilities are impacted because the power is not reliable. Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital has about 17 generators. The biggest generator we have can run for about 10 days.”

In Cape Town, officials have urged residents remain on high alert. The City of Cape Town is encouraging residents to be prepared over the weekend, at home and on the roads.

Mayco member for energy and climate change Phindile Maxiti said: “Avoid power surges. If you know your area will be affected, switch off your appliances to reduce the risk of damage caused when the power comes back on. At traffic stops where the lights are out, use it as a four way stop.”

He said residents should call for assistance if an outage carries on for longer than scheduled in areas where the city supplies electricity.

'FED UP'

South African have taken to social media to express their anger over load shedding.

CITY'S GUIDE ON BEING PREPARED

• Communication: Ensure that your cell phone, laptop, tablet and radio are always fully charged when power is available. This will allow you to be able to communicate with friends and family during load shedding.

• Transport: Make sure that your vehicle always has fuel in the tank as most petrol stations are unable to pump fuel during power outages.

• Cash: Keep some cash on you as ATMs cannot operate without electricity.

• Security and safety: Backup batteries for electric gates, garage doors and security systems should be kept in a good working condition and be able to last through periods of load-shedding. Store temporary lighting such as battery-powered torches, gas lamps and candles in places where they will be easy to find in the dark.

• Eating: If you do not have a gas stove, prepare meals before the power is scheduled to be switched off. Boil water in your kettle and keep it in thermos flasks for hot drinks. You can also use an insulating cover on teapots, pots and pans to keep drinks and meals warm.

• Medication: Most medication requiring refrigeration can be kept in a closed fridge for several hours without spoiling, but you should check with your doctor or pharmacist if in doubt.

• Traffic lights: Intersections with traffic lights that are not working because of load-shedding should be treated as four-way-stops. The motorist who stops first may proceed first if the way is clear and safe to do so. Please stay calm and follow defensive driving techniques.

• Avoid power surges and nuisance tripping: If you know that your area will be affected by load-shedding, switch off appliances, geysers, pool pumps, air conditioners, lights and other electrical equipment to reduce the risk of damage caused when the power comes back on.

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