Eskom says it will implement stage 2 load shedding from 9pm on Saturday until 5am on Monday.
“Should there be any further deterioration in the power system, load shedding might be required to be implemented earlier,” Eskom said in a statement.
The power utility said stage 2 load shedding was necessary due to the loss of a unit each at the Medupi, Arnot and Kendal power stations in the morning.
A unit returning to service at Tutuka power station was also delayed, Eskom further said.
“In addition to the above, the failure of the coal conveyors at Medupi led to reduced output at the station. While this has since been rectified, it will take some time to recover the full operations.
“Furthermore, there was a complete shutdown of the Kendal power station ash plant due to an electrical fault. This required the station’s output to be reduced to minimum.
The ash plant has since returned to service, and the ash backlog recovery is in progress. These constraints, together with higher demand yesterday and today, have resulted in extensive usage of emergency generation reserves, which will have to be sufficiently recovered for the week ahead.”
Total breakdowns have increased to 14,727MW, while planned maintenance currently stand at 6,711MW capacity.
Expect load shedding this summer
In October, Eskom executives briefed the media on the state of the power system, and warned that South Africans should expect a number of days of load shedding this summer.
Eskom’s chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer said they were prioritising their reliability maintenance programme, which was not a one-off but ongoing.
“Our generation business remains a concern, mainly due to its age and a legacy of poor maintenance,” Oberholzer said.
Tips to cope with load shedding
Here are easy-to-implement tips for those looking to ensure their safety when the lights go out:
• Put the proposed load shedding times somewhere handy so that your family will have enough time to prepare for the power outage.
• Get a few high-wattage solar powered lights for your garden, and a few LED lights for inside. Light is a deterrent to would-be burglars.
• Keep your cellphone charged, or invest in a portable phone charger, so that you can still call for help if you need to.
• If you need to manually open and close your gates when you get home, try to have someone come and meet you at your entrance, or arrange for an escort from your security company.
• Use padlocks, burglar bars and deadbolts to provide an extra level of home security that isn’t power-dependent.
• Alarm systems, garage doors and electric gates generally rely on electricity so make sure that these items all have good backup batteries.
• Keep a torch or a solar, battery powered light that is charged beforehand in multiple, easily accessible locations around your home. Be sure to also have plenty of spare batteries.
• Your fridge and freezer supplies should be okay without power overnight if you do not open and close it repeatedly. If you’re worried about certain food items, prepare an ice-box for these.
• Make sure that all appliances – especially those that pose a fire risk if left unattended – are switched off when load shedding starts and gradually turned back on once power returns. This not only minimises the pressure on the grid when the power is turned back on, but also minimises the risk of damage to appliances due to power surges, or a fire risk causing a power outage to turn into a catastrophe.