SA urged to reduce electricity usage

2014-12-08 00:00

SOUTH Africans have been urged to curtail their electricity usage, even after Eskom scaled down load shedding yesterday.

The national power supplier’s schedule was downgraded from stage tree to stage two yesterday morning, a move many hailed as one that averted crisis.

Eskom implemented stage three cuts for the first time since the 2008 energy crisis, the final step before a national blackout.

If Eskom’s strained grid failed, it would take as long as two weeks to restore power to the country. While the outlook is positive, consumers can still expect scheduled outages.

Eskom spokesperson Andrew Etzinger told The Witness that on Saturday the electricity demand was over 2 000 MegaWatts (MW), which prompted the move to stage three load-shedding measures.

The load shedding need was reduced yesterday back to stage two, to between 1 000 MW to 2 000 MW.

He said municipalities are responsible for their own time schedules and Eskom can’t intervene.

Msunduzi municipality’s electricity department urged Pietermaritzburg residents to use electricity sparingly.

They are advised to follow the load-shedding time schedule that was last updated on November 26.

Etzinger said that Eskom will be working tirelessly to avoid load shedding on Christmas day.

“The demand for electricity to run uninterrupted will begin from Monday, December 15, but the pressure will increase the grid in January when school opens. Load shedding is taken to avoid national blackouts,” he said.

Etzinger also cautioned that the country may reach stage four load shedding (3 000 MW to 4 000 MW) like it did in 2008, but Eskom will try as far as possible to avoid it.

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