UPDATE: No load shedding for Wednesday

Power utility Eskom did not need to implement load shedding on Wednesday.

"We thank all customers for using electricity sparingly during this period assisting us to pull through the evening peak," it said at 21:05.

Earlier in the day it said load shedding would only be implemented as a last resort. 

While the power utility did not implement load shedding in the morning, it did issue an alert of warning of a high risk of stage 1 load shedding between 17:00 to 21:00.

“Should load shedding be implemented this evening it would be for a period of up to four hours,” Eskom warned earlier in the day.

The power utility also said load shedding is conducted as a measure of last resort to protect the power system from a total collapse or blackout.  

The country has since last Thursday experienced routine blackouts, as Eskom battled to restore supply challenges created by workers’ demonstrations at power plants.

Eskom tabled a new wage offer of 4.7% on Tuesday, according to Irvin Jim, the general secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa). The cash-strapped utility had initially offered a 0% increase for the current year, while Numsa and the National Union of Mineworkers demanded a 15% hike. 

Jim said on Tuesday that the power utility had also proposed a 4-year agreement linked to inflation.

“As unions we are not committing to anything, we will take the offer to our members, 4.7% is very far from what the unions here wanted, we will go back and reflect on the offer,” he said. 

Later on Wednesday Jim said the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Numsa and Solidarity had met with Eskom representatives in the early afternoon to restart wage negotiations.

The unions have rejected Eskom's offer of a 4.7% wage increase, and are waiting to hear back about a 'comprehensive' a list of issues they collectively presented to the utility during negotiations. 

Talks will resume at 10:00 on Thursday. 

Eskom has called on South Africans to reduce their power consumption by switching off geysers all non-essential lighting and electricity appliances during the day and especially during peak periods between 07:00 to 10:00 and 18:00 to 21:00.

* This article has been updated throughout the day as new information becomes available. 

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