Eskom has urged road users to heed safety rules as more coal trucks are expected to be on the country's roads as part of coal recovery efforts this festive season.
The power utility said it remains committed to addressing challenges pertaining to deterioration in generation performance, and will take advantage of the low electricity demand during the festive season to intensify plant maintenance and fast-track recovery of stock levels to grid code heights.
This is line with the organisation’s nine-point system recovery plan, which is aimed at improving generation performance and returning the energy availability factor (EAF) to 75% by November 2019.
“These concerted efforts will result in a higher-than-usual number of coal trucks, especially on the major roads to and from the coal-fired power stations and coal mines, mostly situated in the Mpumalanga province,” it said.
Phakamani Hadebe, Eskom group chief executive, said while the restoration of the power system is an overarching objective, the safety of all South Africans on the roads remains a priority.
“We therefore urge our people to be vigilant and obey the rules of the road at all times,” said Hadebe.
Eskom will stop coal haulage during high-peak days, where the volume of travellers increases on the roads from 24 December 2018 to 27 December and again from 31 December 2018 to 1 January 2019.
Noting that Mpumalanga is the gateway to neighbouring countries, namely eSwatini and Mozambique, Eskom has advised South Africans planning to travel to these countries over this period to plan their trips properly, taking into account the high number of coal trucks as well as the operating hours of the border gates to these countries to avoid last minute rush.