Eskom issues nationwide power alert

Cape Town - Eskom has turned to consumers to help prevent the need for rotational load shedding.

"The power system is severely constrained", the power utility said in a statement on Wednesday.

"This is due to technical problems experienced at some of our power stations and the loss of additional generating units."

“We are doing everything we can to ensure the continued supply of electricity and our technical teams are hard at work to bring back units at our generating plants," chief executive Tshediso Matona said.

He appealed to households and industrial customers to reduce their electricity consumption.

Eskom advised consumers to switch off geysers, pool pumps and all non-essential appliances from 18:00 to 20:00. This is "to prevent the need for rotational load shedding".

The parastatal noted that it also asked key industrial customers to reduce their load by a minimum of 10%.

“We are transitioning into a typical summer load profile and a period when maintenance is increased. As the system is tight, any additional problems experienced on the plant increase the risk of load shedding."

It said this risk will continue into November.

Eskom said it will make every effort to avoid load shedding, but as a precautionary measure load shedding schedules are available on its website.

On Tuesday Eskom said Kusile power station, which is expected to add 4 800MW to the electricity grid on completion in 2017, reached a critical milestone, Sapa reported.

It said that unit one of the coal-fired plant switched on the barring gear motor, which is a mechanism to ensure a turbine does not bend.

Unit six of the Medupi power station, Eskom's other coal-fired plant, received a pressure equipment regulation certificate from the labour department earlier this month.

Unit six of the new power station also fired up its first gas burner and is expected to be synchronised on December 24.

Synchronisation, or first power, involves the generator being electrically connected to the power grid, so that its power is aligned with all the other generators to generate and deliver electricity into the grid, Sapa reported.

 - Fin24, Sapa

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