Powerless Eskom says working units ‘not enough to keep the system going’

Eskom earlier announced the implementation of Stage 3 load shedding from Saturday until Monday morning.

FILE: Eskom's Megawatt Park in Johannesburg. Picture: Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG – Eskoms says it’s had to escalate load shedding to Stage 3 to accommodate the shortage of capacity and replenish emergency reserves.

The State-owned entity (SoE) says the rolling blackouts will last throughout the weekend to make provision for the week ahead.

The parastatal says technicians are currently scrambling to restore more than 17,000 megawatts lost to the grid due to breakdowns and planned maintenance.

Spokesperson Sikonathi Mantantsha said, “Eskom will implement Stage 3 load shedding all the way until 5 am on Monday. This is because we have had some losses in terms of the generation units having tripped. Yes, we did get a few back to service last night, but that’s not enough to keep the system going without load shedding.”

Eskom's board has set aside R400 million rand to for a retrenchment plan targeting managers at the SoE.

Eskom says qualifying workers who are in non-core managerial positions have been offered voluntary cash exit packages, as the troubled utility works to clamp down on its ballooning debt and clawback on a bloated wage bill.

Meanwhile, City Power says that electricity in Lenasia south and other areas is only expected to be restored at midnight.

Lenasia south, Daxina hospital and Johannesburg reservoir have been plunged into darkness since 9 pm on Friday night.

City Power says the outage was caused by stolen cables during load shedding on Friday night.

Spokesperson Isaac Mangena says teams are on-site working on repairs.

“We’ve had our cables stolen during load shedding. The cables were stolen on both Eskom and City Power’s side.
Extensive damage happened when critical infrastructure at the sub-station blew up on the restoration of supply by Eskom at around midnight. We have our teams on-site working on repairs.”

Mangena says they anticipate repairs will be completed around midnight on Saturday, should everything go according to plan.