Just days after electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa praised Eskom for maintaining lower levels of load shedding than expected this winter, the state-owned utility has again imposed stage-6 power cuts from Wednesday.
This comes after a powerful cold front swept the country, bringing the heaviest snowfall to Johannesburg in at least a decade and sending temperatures plunging below zero.
Eskom has blamed the loss of generating units for the increase in load shedding, but a spike in demand caused by the cold weather is no doubt contributing to the problem.
“Due to the loss of additional generating units overnight, the extensive use of open-cycle gas turbines (which burn diesel) and the inability to replenish pumped storage dam levels, stage-4 load shedding will be implemented at 7am [on Wednesday] until 2pm,” the utility said.
“Thereafter, stage-6 load shedding will be implemented from 2pm until 5am on Thursday. This pattern will be repeated daily until further notice.”
The escalation in load shedding comes just days after Ramokgopa said South Africa’s power crisis could come to an end sooner than expected, with the intensity of the cuts being reduced.
“I said when I started this assignment, we will resolve load shedding and I think that we will resolve it much quicker than we had anticipated,” Ramokgopa said at a media briefing in Pretoria on Sunday, according to a report by Bloomberg.
Improved generation capacity means there is now more scope to undertake planned maintenance, said Ramokgopa at the briefing. — © 2023 NewsCentral Media