The City of Cape Town has warned of power outages due to load shedding by Eskom, saying they are at the power utilities mercy, and do not have a clear picture on when the outages will occur.
“We are entirely dependent on Eskom informing us of what their generation capacity will be so unfortunately we are at this point unable to provide residents with more detailed information on what to expect. However, we believe that there is a risk that loadshedding will continue to be implemented throughout the next week,” said Xanthea Limberg, Mayco Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy.
As various parts of the country experienced load shedding on Sunday, Eskom has come out to say that the risk of load shedding remains high as due to the effects of recent industrial action. The power system has come under pressure since trade unions at the utility went on strike over wages last week.
“Some employees continue to work around the clock to restore stability to operations and supply. We assure customers that all available emergency energy resources are used before load shedding is implemented,” Eskom said.
The public enterprise apologised to consumers for the outages and encouraged residents and businesses to use electricity sparingly, adding that a 10-day prognosis would be conducted to restore the power utility to full capacity. “These processes have now to be cleared out and restarted which would take additional time,” Eskom said.
The prognosis will include analysing coal management and transportation, as there is currently an inability for the power utility to transport coal from coal stock yards to coal stock bunkers without operating staff.
This absence of operating staff is due to the current industrial strike action taking place as the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) strike in protest of the public enterprise’s 0% wage offer.
Last Thursday, Eskom spokesperson, Khulu Phasiwe, said that there were no plans to implement load shedding. Sunday, however, saw load shedding implemented for up to four hours in some areas. This was done as a last resort to protect the power system from a total collapse.
“While safety of employees remains our first priority, recovery teams at our power stations continue to work hard to stabilise the power system and to return our generation plant as quick as possible,” Eskom said.
The public enterprise reiterates that businesses and residents must use electricity sparingly. Geysers must be turned off during the day, especially during the peak hours of 7am to 10am, and 6pm to 9pm. Non-essential lighting and electrical appliances must also be turned off to reduce pressure on the electrical grid.
Consumers are also advised to keep checking their load shedding schedules on Eskom’s official site or municipal sites. Eskom customers may also contact the customer contact centre at 0860-037-566.
To access Eskom’s load shedding schedule, click here.