Power woes hit midlands

2007-12-12 00:00

While Eskom continues with nation wide load shedding, patients at the Howick Private Hospital yesterday had to be turned back from the operating theatre after Eskom started load shedding without any warning, only to be taken into theatre later than they had expected.

Dr Dick Brombacher told The Witness that they were informed by Eskom that load shedding would take place from 2 pm to 4 pm and the hospital staff arranged the theatre schedule accordingly to accommodate the power cut.

But, without warning the power was suddenly cut at noon.

“Eskom should have had the basic decency to stick to what they said and not just cut the power off like that,” Brombacher said, adding that patients in particular were furious about the delay.

In Pietermaritzburg, Phil Mashoko, Msunduzi strategic executive manager for infrastructure, services and facilities said they had no requests for load shedding from Eskom yesterday. “Our policy is to target domestic consumers first to minimise the affect on business and industry,” said Mashoko.

Electricity outages in Willowton yesterday were not due to load shedding, but because of a cable fault, said Mashoko.

Load shedding is expected to continue for the rest of the week due to this shortage, Eskom warned yesterday.

“We have brought back some generating units overnight and currently have 20% of our total generating plant still on unplanned and planned outages,” said Erica Johnson, Eskom’s managing director (systems operations and planning).

Meanwhile Eskom tentatively predicted that South Africa’s Christmas lights should shine bright, but have warned that the risk of load shedding will continue over the festive season.

“No load shedding is forecast for the weeks commencing December 17, leading up to and including Christmas and New Year, as the general pattern for demand during this period decreases. However, Eskom has a high maintenance schedule during this period, which means that the risk for load shedding remains.”

Eskom has warned all consumers that the system is forecast to be tight during the second week of January 2008 as the pattern for demand during this period is very high. During this time, Eskom will use all emergency energy resources, which will include the use of Eskom’s gas turbines and buying back power from large industrial customers.

•Load shedding times can be accessed on the Eskom website: www.eskom.co.za.


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