Eskom is in a much better position to manage load shedding than in the last episode in 2008, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Thursday, 5 March.
Malusi Gigaba claims that Eskom is better equipped to deal with load shedding than it was in 2008. Image: GCIS
Eskom, which produces about 85% of its electricity from coal, started load shedding, which will affect numerous parts of the country, after declaring a power emergency on Thursday morning.
Eskom has depleted its dry coal stockpiles at some power stations and because of the the rainy weather, is facing severe system constraints. Burning wet coal results in a lower power output.
Eskom says it lost power from three units at Kendal Power Station in Mpumalanga. It has had to reduce output at other power stations, Duvha in particular, which is getting its conveyor belts reconstructed following a fire in December last year.
"Load shedding is done as a last resort to protect the national system from a total blackout, which would have significant impact on the economic developments of South Africa," said Gigaba.
In the case of a total blackout, it can take up to weeks to return to normality.
"Although, this is the first time load has been shed since 2008, Eskom is in a much better position to manage the situation than it was then. Eskom has the skills, experience and knowledge to manage the situation. It has a robust risk and early warning protocol in place.
"The utility has developed communication protocols with municipalities and various stakeholders to keep the public informed," Gigaba said.
The load shedding will affect all customer segments throughout the country. It will be implemented nationally on a rotational basis, as per Eskom's load shedding schedules available on the Eskom website Eskom