UPDATE: No load shedding for Tuesday evening

Power utility Eskom has said it avoided rotational load shedding on Tuesday evening. 

"We thank all customers for using electricity sparingly during this period assisting us to pull through the evening peak," it said at 21:00. 

This after the power utility earlier said there would be a high risk of load shedding between 17:00 to 21:00.

At 18:00 Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said that while load shedding had not yet been implemented, risk still remained high. "The next 3 hours, from 18:00 - 21:00, remain critical. Electricity usage generally rises sharply during this period," he said.  

Issuing a Stage 1 load shedding alert earlier in the day, Eskom said "the power system is expected to be severely constrained this evening from 5pm to 9pm, with a high risk of load shedding”.

Eskom said that while it did not implement rotational load shedding on Tuesday morning, an alert for rotational load shedding for up to four hours may be necessary due to a shortage of capacity.

"Level 1 load shedding requires 1000MW to be load-shed nationwide. Load shedding is conducted as a measure of last resort to protect the power system from a total collapse or blackout," the power utility said.

The power utility first implemented load shedding on Thursday, following the disruption to supply caused by the workers’ demonstration.

Workers at power plants had abandoned their work posts amid intimidation and violence by fellow workers who are demanding wage increases.

The pickets led to interruptions in the power supply, forcing the firm to implement load shedding – the first since 2015.

The company had earlier said the supply system was starting to stabilise, after experiencing a “significant increase in plant outages and bottlenecks in routine maintenance” because of a lack of resources to operate plants optimally.

The state-owned power utility had expected that the full restoration of electricity supply would take up to 10 days, raising the possibility of blackouts.

Talks to resolve the wage increase impasse are underway in Johannesburg.

Workers are demanding pay increases of between 9% to 15%. Eskom says it is unable to grant the increases due to dire financial challenges.

*This article was updated at 19:10 and at 21:02 on Tuesday. 

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