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De Ruyter: Eskom never said there'd only be 3 days of load shedding in winter

Tuesday is the fifth consecutive day that the country is experiencing stage two rolling blackouts.

FILE: Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter. Picture: Bonga Dlulane/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said he had never made an absolute commitment to South Africans that there would only be three days of load shedding during winter.

Tuesday is the fifth consecutive day that the country is experiencing stage two rolling blackouts.

It is expected to continue until 10 pm on Tuesday.

Earlier this year, Eskom vowed to use the time during lockdown to conduct maintenance.

De Ruyter said he had not broken any commitment to South Africans that load shedding would not go beyond three days.

“What I am saying to South Africa right now is that we are disappointed that load shedding has once again occurred. We are taking action to fix our generation system.”

COLD WEATHER INCREASED DEMAND FOR POWER

Eskom said the cold winter weather was a contributing factor to the higher than usual demand for electricity leading to more load shedding than expected.

As a cold front hits Gauteng on Tuesday afternoon, South Africans are using more electricity to stay warm putting more pressure on the utility to keep up with the high demand.

Temperatures are expected to drop to a minimum of zero in some parts of the province.

“If I had a magic wand to wave to fix the system, I would have waved it, but I can’t catch up on 13 years of load shedding in six months’ time.”

De Ruyter said the utility took advantage of the reduced electricity demand during the lockdown period but that was still not enough.

“What we have now seen due to the cold winter is that peak demand is exceeding what we had anticipated even prior to lockdown. The cold weather has certainly played a role in putting additional stress on the system.”

Unit two of the Koeberg Power Station has now been synchronised with the rest of the grid but it’s only producing about 700 megawatts.

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