Eskom eases fear of load shedding, but advises controlled power usage

2014-11-04 00:00

CONFUSION reigned over load shedding yesterday as Eskom announced that it had made contingency plans after a coal silo collapsed at the Majuba power station over the weekend.

On Sunday, Eskom said there would be load shedding this week and warned South Africans to brace themselves for blackouts during the week, but Msunduzi Municipality did not officially have any load shedding yesterday.

A power failure did briefly disrupt power supply to traffic lights and the court in the city centre yesterday, but this was related to faults in the system and not load shedding.

Senior manager in the electricity department Doray Vallo said the capital escaped load shedding yesterday because residents had kept their consumption low.

The same situation prevailed last Thursday when the lights were due to go off at 6 pm in certain areas of the Pietermaritzburg CBD, but fortunately by 5.45 pm, Eskom had sent a message to say the power grid had stabilised. Load shedding for the rest of the week will also depend on Eskom’s instructions.

eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Thabo Mofokeng said, “People who are supplied electricity by the city should visit the municipality’s website to check if their grid will have load shedding and those that get their electricity from Eskom, should check Eskom’s site.”

Mofokeng said the city received and relied on updates provided by Eskom.

“We will inform the public when there is load shedding, but people must be ready and prepared for any eventuality. People must also save electricity as much as possible because that is the only way that we can ensure that we stabilise the electricity supply,” added Mofokeng.

As in Pietermaritzburg, some traffic lights were also not working in eThekwini yesterday. Metro Police spokesperson senior superintendent Eugene Msomi said drivers must treat affected intersections as four-way stops.

Eskom said if customers experienced power outages they should contact their local electricity providers because it may be a local problem.

“The risk of load shedding has reduced significantly and the prognosis for the week is better than expected. The system will be under extreme pressure on Wednesday [tomorrow] and Thursday as the water reserves that we built up over the weekend for our peaking plants will be depleted,” read the statement from Eskom.

Eskom said work on Majuba Power Station was progressing after the 40-metre-high coal silo, which fed the power station with 2 250 tons of coal per hour, cracked on Saturday.

The electricity giant appealed to consumers to continue using electricity wisely throughout the day, particularly between 6 pm and 10 pm.

• amanda.khoza@witness.co.za

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