Eskom says Thursday evening load shedding has ended | Fin24
 
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Eskom says Thursday evening load shedding has ended

Jun 14 2018 18:01
Khulekani Magubane, Jan Cronje

Cape Town – Eskom recommenced with load shedding on Thursday evening, following a day of strikes and claims of intimidation and sabotage by employees protesting a freeze in wages. 

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe confirmed in a tweet that there would be stage 1 load shedding, saying it would take place between 17:50 and 20:00.

Phasiwe said load shedding was caused by intimidation and acts of sabotage by striking workers. Speaking to Fin24, Phasiwe said municipalities must determine which areas would be affected. 

At 20:00 Eskom tweeted that electricity had been restored "in all areas".

"Stage 1 load shedding was lifted at 19:59 this evening. Please note that it may take a bit of time for some municipalities to fully restore power in some of the affected areas," tweeted Phasiwe.

However, at the same time the social media accounts of some municipalities were still giving updates on suburbs that would be without power between 20:00 and 22:00. 

Schedules

News that load shedding would again be instituted sent South Africans scrambling to find load shedding schedules. These can generally be found on the websites of municipalities. Customers who get their electricity directly from Eskom can find load shedding schedules on Eskom's website

The website of City Power Johannesburg returned a "server is busy" error for many internet users on Thursday evening as residents logged on en masse to get details of when they would be without electricity. 

Stage 1 load shedding means that 1000 MW of electricity needs to be shed in order to to prevent the national grid from becoming severely damaged. 

Around 19:00 City Power Johannesburg said that it may have to institute stage 2 load shedding. Stage 2 allows for up to 2000 MW of the national load to be shed. 

In a statement issued on Thursday night, Johannesburg city councillor Nico de Jager said that Eskom had communicated the notification of load shedding late and parts of the city were "plunged into darkness". "The city was left unable to make the required plans to mitigate the impact on our residents by the timing of the warning.

"The present communication and details contained of potential load shedding by Eskom are wholly inadequate," he said. 

Lower consumption 

Earlier, Eskom admitted that South Africa faced a real risk of load shedding and asked South Africans to lower power consumption in a bid to avoid outages.

The power utility asked consumers to switch off geysers, pool pumps, heaters and non-essential appliances within the peak period between 17:00 and 20:00.

Eskom said the national grid was under considerable pressure, with the country having just experienced a week of cold winter weather.

The load shedding came after a day of pickets by Eskom employees protesting a wage freeze. 

By noon, the power utility had already announced that its network was constrained due to acts of sabotage and intimidation. 

It said in an earlier update there had been "several incidents of road blockades, attacks on staff, and wilful damage of electricity infrastructure"."As a result, all road coal deliveries have been stopped for security reasons. The safety of all our employees is of paramount importance to us during this time."

Workers belonging to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) protested outside Eskom's headquarters  at Megawatt Park in Sunninghill, Johannesburg, on Thursday afternoon to demand a 15% wage increase. 

They handed over a memorandum of demands to Eskom Phakamani Hadebe, who committed to reopening wage talks with trade unions

The unions have vowed to continue with pickets as the parties head back to the negotiating table. 

*UPDATE: The article was updated at 22:25 on Thursday June 14, to include comments from Johannesburg councillor Nico de Jager. 

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eskom  |  load shedding  |  electricity  |  strike  |  power
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