Following a very chilly day, Eskom has announced that it will be implementing load shedding stage 2 from 4pm to 9pm on Thursday evening.
“Eskom regrets to inform the public that due to shortage of generation capacity, coupled with the severely cold weather in parts of the country. Stage 2 load shedding will be implemented from 16:00 until 21:00 tonight,” Eskom said in a statement.
The power utility said this was due to the loss of two generating units, at Kusile power station and one each at Medupi and Tutuka.
“Unfortunately. a generation unit each at Tutuka and Medupi power stations were forced offline this afternoon, increasing the capacity constraints on the power system.”
Delays in returning generation units have exacerbated the current constrained power supply, Eskom said.
“Further generation a unit each at Medupi and Tutuka. that were expected to return to service this afternoon have now been delayed, further contributing to the shortages. Breakdowns currently total 14,137MW while planned maintenance is 2 924MW of capacity.”
“Eskom regrets the inconvenience caused by these power constraints, and would like to urge the public to reduce the usage of electricity in order to help ease the pressure on the power system, and will communicate promptly should there be any significant changes to the performance of the system.”
Earlier on Thursday, the power utility warned that it could be forced to implement load shedding at short notice.
The power utility said the system was currently severely constrained.
The South African Weather Service (Saws) issued a yellow level 3 warning for snow leading to possible loss of livestock and crops expected over the high lying areas of the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, southern interior of Namakwa and the southern Free State.
Gauteng can expect temperature from 10°C and lower, with a maximum of only 7°C in Johannesburg and 11°C in Pretoria forecast going into the weekend.
Kumsa Masizana, forecaster at the Saws, said the cold temperatures were going to remain low over the weekend.
“The current cold front will bring disruptive snowfall which might make it difficult for motorist travelling through the passes high-lying areas of the Western Cape and Northern Cape,” Masizana said.
She said rain was expected for the next few days over the Northern Cape, Western Cape and Eastern Cape.
“[On Thursday] we are going to start feeling the cold temperatures over the North West, Free State and Gauteng.”
Tips to survive with load shedding
- Put the proposed load shedding times somewhere handy so that your family will have enough time to prepare for the power outage.
- Get a few high-wattage solar powered lights for your garden, and a few LED lights for inside. Light is a deterrent to would-be burglars.
- Keep your cellphone charged, or invest in a portable phone charger, so that you can still call for help if you need to.
- If you need to manually open and close your gates when you get home, try to have someone come and meet you at your entrance, or arrange for an escort from your security company.
- Use padlocks, burglar bars and deadbolts to provide an extra level of home security that isn’t power-dependent.
- Alarm systems, garage doors and electric gates generally rely on electricity so make sure that these items all have good backup batteries.
- Keep a torch or a solar, battery powered light that is charged beforehand in multiple, easily accessible locations around your home. Be sure to also have plenty of spare batteries.
- Your fridge and freezer supplies should be okay without power overnight if you do not open and close it repeatedly. If you’re worried about certain food items, prepare an ice-box for these.
- Make sure that all appliances – especially those that pose a fire risk if left unattended – are switched off when load shedding starts and gradually turned back on once power returns. This not only minimises the pressure on the grid when the power is turned back on, but also minimises the risk of damage to appliances due to power surges, or a fire risk causing a power outage to turn into a catastrophe.