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Eskom’s Easter gift: No plans for load shedding over long weekend but brace for blackouts next week

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Eskom has requested that South Africans continue using electricity sparingly, particularly over the long Easter weekend.

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter. The power utility has appealed to South Africans to use power sparingly over the Easter holiday File Picture: Reuters

EMBATTLED power utility Eskom said on Thursday it was on track to suspend load shedding at 5am on Friday, but there was a possibility of more rolling blackouts next week.

“The power system remains fragile and while that holds, Eskom will continue with the current instance of load shedding as previously communicated, which will be suspended at 5am on Friday. The planned suspension of load shedding is due, in part, to the lower demand expected over the weekend,” it said in a statement.

“However, there remains a possibility that load shedding will need to be implemented during next week as the demand returns.”

Eskom said over the past 24 hours, a unit each at the Kusile and Kendal power stations had tripped.

“The Kusile unit has returned to service this morning, together with one of the previously delayed Camden power station units. Eskom will undertake opportunity maintenance during the low demand weekend to address some risk on running units,” the state-owned utility said.

Eskom said it would during the weekend release some water into the river system from the Ingula pumped storage scheme, in order to relieve the capacity constraints that have been created by heavy rains.

“This will be done in a responsible manner in collaboration with the authorities. We currently have 6 042MW on planned maintenance, while another 14 471MW of capacity is unavailable due to unplanned breakdowns. Eskom would like to inform the public that any further deterioration in generation capacity may require further load shedding,” the utility added.

“We therefore request the public to continue using electricity sparingly, particularly over the long weekend to assist to replenish the emergency generation reserves in anticipation of the coming week. Eskom would like to apologise for the implementation of load shedding and reiterate that load shedding is implemented only as a last resort to protect the national grid.”

Eskom said it would communicate “should there be any significant changes to the supply situation”.

On Tuesday, Eskom announced that load shedding was being extended for two days due to a shortage of generation capacity.

At the time, the power utility said stage 2 load shedding would be implemented overnight from 5pm until 5am on Tuesday and from 5pm to 5am on Wednesday.

“Load shedding will then be suspended at 5am on Friday. The extension of load shedding is caused by the shortage of generation capacity and continued delays in returning to service four generating units at Camden power station and two generating units at Tutuka power station. Eskom teams are working hard to return as many of these units to service as possible,” Eskom said.

“A single unit that had tripped at Lethabo Power Station yesterday morning has returned to service. This unit, however, will take some time to reach full production.”

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