Eskom implemented stage-one rotational load shedding on Sunday to “preserve” what it called “emergency resources”.
Load shedding began at 12.15pm, Eskom said in a media statement. It was set to continue until 10pm on Sunday evening.
“Customers are advised to keep checking their load-shedding schedules on the Eskom website and municipal website, and to plan on the assumption that load shedding will take place”.
“We continue to appeal to residents and businesses to use electricity sparingly during this period.”
On Friday, Bloomberg reported that Eskom could be forced to implement controlled blackouts before the end of the year because of pressure on the national system.
Ten of Eskom’s plants have less than 20 days of coal stocks. The company, which supplies about 90% of South Africa’s power, has battled low stockpiles of the fuel most of this year, threatening power stability and driving up coal prices.
High levels of unplanned maintenance are also a focus, Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe said on Friday.
Power generation availability has deteriorated due to poor coal quality, labour action earlier in the year and financial constraints that led to minimal maintenance.
High debt levels
The company, which is struggling with high debt levels, will need to spend another R1.5-billion at its two new huge coal-fired plants that are already over budget and behind schedule.
Eskom briefly implemented rolling blackouts in June for the first time since 2015 after protesters blockaded roads and attacked staff when wage negotiations broke down. A return to load shedding would add pressure on the economy that plunged into a recession earlier this year. — (c) 2018 NewsCentral Media, with additional reporting (c) 2018 Bloomberg LP