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Eskom COO Oberholzer ‘hopes’ they won't have to implement stage 8

The utility said its emergency response command centre and technical teams have been working around the clock to stabilise the grid.

Picture: Pixabay.com

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer said the utility understood why the implementation of stage 6 load shedding caused panic among South Africans and it's hoped this would not extend beyond that level.

Stage 6 was effected for the first time on Monday for several hours but there was no clear communication around how this would affect consumers.

The country is now back to stage 4 but for ease of planning, some municipalities have already started publishing provisional schedules covering up to stage 8 load shedding.

Oberholzer said Monday's circumstances were extraordinary as some power stations were flooded while above average pressure was placed on the utility's emergency diesel supply.

He's warned that generating plants remain unpredictable and unreliable.

“I can understand if you refer to panic among the public but from an Eskom point of view, there’s no panic. What stage 8 means is that we need to shed 8000 MW, do we see ourselves getting there? We trust and hope that we never get there but never is a long time.”

On Tuesday morning, the utility said its emergency response command centre and technical teams have been working around the clock to stabilise the grid.

Spokesperson Dikatso Mothae said stage 6 was a necessary move: “It is still a controlled way to ensure that we don’t have a complete blackout.”

South Africans were left asking questions about what stage 6 of load shedding meant while municipalities scrambled to amend their schedules.

Meanwhile, there are warnings that the ongoing blackouts will place South Africa in even further economic trouble.

Economist Iraj Abedian said if this trend continued, South Africa could go into a recession.

“If it continues like this, no mine can operate with this ‘don’t call me, I’ll call you when we have electricity’. No factory, business, financial services can run when there’s no power.”

The country is currently surviving on stage 4 load shedding until 11 pm on Tuesday.

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