South Africans and business owners are set to get even more grumpy and frustrated amid the coldest week thus far this year, with Eskom announcing on Tuesday night that Stage 2 load shedding will be implemented from 10h00 on Wednesday morning until 22h00 on Friday.
This represents the escalation of load shedding into the main business hours of the day, as the state power utility is struggling with further breakdowns and a spike in demand on the back of the cold front gripping most of the country.
Eskom started Stage 2 load shedding on Monday, but kept it to after 16h00 into the early hours of the morning. While this was during the peak evening demand times, it essentially avoided power cuts during business hours.
Now load shedding has been extended to daytime as well as the evenings, highlighting the pressure placed on the power grid.
Eskom blamed the intensified load shedding on “further breakdowns of generating units at Majuba and Arnot Power Stations [on Tuesday], as well delays in returning units to service at Arnot and Tutuka Power Stations”.
“The emergency generation reserves have been used extensively in the past days to avoid load shedding during the day. This has resulted in these being depleted, reducing available capacity,” the utility said.
“It is, therefore, necessary to implement load shedding continuously until Friday night at 22:00 in order to replenish the emergency reserves,” Eskom added.
“Breakdowns currently total 13 601MW of capacity, while another 1 330MW is unavailable due to planned maintenance. Eskom teams are working hard to return generation units to service, as well as to replenish the emergency reserves,” it stressed.
As normal, Eskom reiterated its appeal to the public to reduce the usage of electricity so as “to assist the country to get through these capacity constraints”.
The utility said that it will communicate promptly should there be any significant changes to the system.