Eskom turns off BHP Billiton smelters

2013-06-14 11:17

Two BHP Billiton energy-gobbling aluminium smelters were temporarily turned off by Eskom because demand for electricity exceeded availability.

Eskom spokesperson Hilary Joffe said after the peak consumer usage period that the demand for electricity had been more than 35 000MW between 5pm and 9pm last night, and Eskom could only supply 34 970MW, Beeld reported.

Eskom had an agreement with BHP Billiton and other companies to temporarily cut power during peak consumer usage times.

Prevailing cold weather conditions and the coming long weekend had resulted in Eskom’s availability being exceeded, said Joffe.

But yesterday night’s surge in demand had proceeded uneventfully without power cuts to general consumers because some of Eskom’s other large clients had agreed to lower their consumption.

According to Joffe, last night was a good example of an earlier warning that South Africans would have to be frugal with their power consumption during the winter months.

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