Urgent Load Shedding Update.
Members of the Public have been receiving the following message on various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, whatsapp and BBM.
“URGENT NEWS: Eskom has announced a total National Blackout from 20:00 to 22:30 for 6/12/14 and 7/12/14. Please be prepared and beef up all security at shops and businesses and stay off the road tonight. Pls BC to all contacts.”
Eskom has released the following statement in response to the viral message:
“The social media viral message of a total blackout is not true. Load shedding will continue in stage 3 until about 10pm tonight.”
Here is the load shedding schedule:
Eskom has upgraded its load shedding status from stage 2 to stage 3 for the rest of the weekend. This means the power cuts will continue being as severe as it was yesterday. Eskom began implementing load shedding from 8am this morning because an additional two generators needed urgent maintenance.
Yesterday the power utility had to shed around 4000 megawatts power. The power system has remained severely constrained for the past few months due to a unit outage at the Majuba Power Station in Mpumalanga as well as on-going maintenance. Eskom’s Andrew Etzinger says the power cuts are necessary to avoid a countrywide blackout. “The worst case scenario is a national blackout which we seen in other countries over the last couple of years which happens when the entire grid is lost and no customers are supplied.” He said if that happened in South Africa, it would take around two weeks to restart the grid while the entire country is remains in darkness. Stage 3 doubles the frequency of stage 2. This means load shedding can take place three times a day.
Etzinger says, “Eskom has unfortunately needed to extend load shedding to stage three on its schedule and what this means is that more parts of the country will be affected at any point in time. It’s a deeper form of load shedding.”
Last month, a coal silo at Majuba collapsed which led to rolling blackouts across the country.
On Thursday, the utility implemented stage two load shedding across the country.
This came after the country experienced a second consecutive weekend of rolling blackouts at the weekend.The weekend blackouts were due to general upkeep measures at the Cahora-Bassa hydroelectric power station in Mozambique.
Eskom has been scrambling to build new power stations to ease razor-thin supply margins, but has been beset by a two year delay at its massive planned Medupi plant.
An extended series of rolling power outages in 2008 caused misery for millions and cost the country billions of rands in lost output. Load shedding will continue for the rest of the weekend.