South Africans can brace for more load shedding this coming week as a wildcat strike at Eskom power stations continues unabated.
SOUTH Africans can brace for more load shedding this coming week as a wildcat strike at Eskom power stations continues unabated.
According to Eskom, the unlawful industrial action at various power stations has impacted planned maintenance and repairs, and at some stations the full complement of workers have not reported for duty.
“As a result, Stage 4 load shedding will regretfully continue to be implemented at 5am in the morning (Monday) until Wednesday,” the power utility said in a statement.
Eskom said it was taking precautionary measures to conserve generation capacity and safeguard the plants from damage.
There is a possibility that the stage of load shedding may have to change at short notice, depending on the state of the plant and the availability of labour, Eskom noted.
“Currently approximately 4, 000MW of generation capacity is at risk due to the illegal strike action. It is therefore necessary to replenish emergency generation reserves to be able to react to unforeseen circumstances. Adequate emergency reserves are crucial to assist with the generation deficit while dealing with generating units that may trip owing to unlawful action, and to compensate for the inability to return generating units timeously to service.
“Protracted strike actions may lead to further damage and prolonged delays to returning units to service, which would compound an already constrained power system,” the statement said.
According to Eskom, it currently had 3,894MW on planned maintenance, while another 15,472MW of capacity is unavailable due to breakdowns.
In addition to this, a further 600MW is unavailable due to a line fault in Mozambique that is currently experienced by the Hydroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB).
“Eskom wishes to pay tribute and thank those many loyal and dedicated employees who keep going beyond the call of duty to help the keep the lights on.
“Eskom continues to closely monitor the system, adjust and communicate any changes as may be necessary. We appeal to all South Africans to help limit the impact of the shortages by continuing to reduce the usage of electricity and to switch off all non-essential items,” the power utility said.
Eskom added that load shedding is implemented only as a last resort to protect the national grid. “We therefore urge all South Africans to continue using electricity sparingly especially during these uncertain times on the power system.
“Eskom appeals to its labour partners and striking employees to put the people of South Africa first, respect the law and to desist from unlawful and undemocratic conduct. The labour dispute resolution process must be allowed to run its course without illegal acts of intimidation and damage to property. Eskom will consider all legal options at its disposal for damage caused or incited by union representatives.”