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Thousands without power as Eskom transformer fails in Free State

The struggling utility said supply to consumers in Rouxville, Zastron and Smithfield, as well as surrounding rural areas, would only be restored on Tuesday as technicians work on the problem.

Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom on Monday announced that three Free State towns would not have electricity after a transformer failure at the Rouxville substation.

The struggling utility said supply to consumers in Rouxville, Zastron and Smithfield, as well as surrounding rural areas, would only be restored on Tuesday as technicians work on the problem.

The utility has apologised to the thousands of people affected.

This came shortly after Eskom announced that it had experienced some unplanned breakdowns amounting to more than 13,000 megawatts. It warned that its system was under strain.

On Sunday, the power company said that its system had improved. The embattled power utility said its teams would stabilise the system and generation fleet in order to meet Monday’s electricity demand.

Eskom has warned it could implement load shedding on Monday should it lose generating units during the day.

It said the power system was vulnerable and volatile with an ageing fleet that needed higher levels of maintenance.

The utility’s Dikatso Mothae said: “Should we lose some generation during the day, we will use emergency reserves to supplement capacity and may implement load shedding in the evening. However, if there are drastic changes, we may implement load shedding earlier.”