Eskom took to social media on Friday to announce it had implemented stage one rolling blackouts.
“Due to the electricity demand that has exceeded the supply, Eskom implemented load shedding stage one from 11h00 until 22h00 tonight,” it posted on the social media website Twitter shortly before noon.
“Schedules for Eskom customers are available @ loadshedding.eskom.co.za, municipal customers should obtain their schedules from the munics,” it said.
Earlier, the power utility posted on Twitter that the system remained vulnerable, meaning that any extra load or faults might necessitate blackouts.
At the time, spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said the energy grid was severely constrained because Eskom did not have new generating capacity.
Generators were breaking down because maintenance had been deferred, and there were unplanned power outages. “The power grid is constrained, but Eskom is doing everything to ensure we avoid load-shedding,” he said.
Phasiwe said Eskom’s financial issues were partly responsible for the country’s rolling blackouts.
“Eskom does have financial issues. It is true that we are having financial crunch and we are currently in discussion with government to get us out of this financial difficulty.”
Asked if Eskom’s financial issues were to blame for the rolling blackouts, Phasiwe said: “Partly, I would say yes.
“We need money to buy parts for the maintenance, but that is not the only reason. Maintenance in the previous years, from about 2010, has been deferred.”
On Wednesday, the risk of power cuts was high after, among other things, two generators failed.
Eskom said power cuts would be a last resort to prevent a “total collapse” of the system.
One of the generators had been repaired by Wednesday afternoon.
On Friday, Phasiwe said the other was still offline and engineers were working on repairing it. “To compensate we have brought back to service some of the generating units which were taken off for regular maintenance.” — Sapa