The national electricity utility Eskom on Sunday implemented stage-one load shedding due to a shortage of generation capacity. Eskom
“We are currently load shedding in stage 1 in some areas due to high demand or urgent maintenance being performed at certain power stations,” Eskom said in a statement.
Several units are currently out of service due to maintenance, leading to the shortage of generation capacity, the utility said.
The load shedding starded from 5:00 p.m., and is likely to continue until 10:00 p.m., the utility said.
Because of maintenance, the system will not be able to meet 1, 000MW of demand, Eskom said.
Eskom has three stages for load shedding. Stage one allows for up to 1,000MW of the national load to be shed once a day. If the pressure grows, stage two for up to 2,000MW or stage three for up to 4,000MW would be shed. At stage two, power goes off twice a day, while at stage three, electricity could be cut two or three times a day.
As the country’s major electricity supplier, Eskom implements load shedding as a last resort to protect the national system from a total blackout which would have significant impact on the economic development of South Africa.
South Africa has suffered from power insufficiency since 2008. Power cuts, which have cost the economy an estimated 300 billion rand (about 25 billion U.S. dollars) since 2008, have again become commonplace since November last year when two coal-burning major power stations broke down.
Eskom is now burning diesel to the value of 1 billion rand (about 85 million U.S. dollars) a month to keep the lights on.
Also on Sunday, the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) alleged that although Eskom is so evidently cash-strapped, it is issuing costly catering contracts and food subsidies for employees ranging from 50 percent to 80 percent.
This follows media reports that about 17, 000 people — 37 percent of all Eskom staff — have access to dining facilities and canteens that provide subsidised meals.
“This is at a time when electricity prices have been hiked by 12.69 percent for direct customers and 14.25 percent for municipalities, and government intends to sell off assets to raise a 23-billion-rand (about 1.96-billion-US-dollar) promised bailout, ” said Natasha Mazzone, DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises.
Mazzone said she will write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, requesting that she urgently summon Eskom’s Acting Finance Director, Nonkululeko Veleti, to appear before the Committee to explain why Eskom, although so evidently cash-strapped, “is issuing costly catering contracts and food subsidies for employees”.
“Expenditure that is not operationally imperative, at this time in Eskom’s history, is a blatant extravagance and a slap in the face for South Africans who have been asked to tighten their belts, ” said Mazzone. Enditem

Source: Xinhua


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