South African power utility Eskom on Friday asked the general public to continue using electricity sparingly, cautioning about a possible risk of load shedding.

“Eskom is currently implementing stage two of load shedding from 09:00 to 10 pm today (Friday) due to unplanned outages,” Eskom’s national spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said, adding that the risk of power cuts remains high for both Saturday and Sunday.

“Despite demand being generally lower over the weekend, the probability of load shedding is high as a result of a shortage of capacity,” he said.

There are eight stages of load shedding in South Africa, allowing 1000 MW to 8000 MW to be shed from the national grid.

Phasiwe blamed the weekend planned load shedding on required infrastructure maintenance.

Generation plant is out on planned maintenance and there is a higher than expected number of units on unplanned maintenance due to technical faults. Cahora Bassa hydropower plant is still supplying 700 MW less to the grid as a result of a damaged transmission line which occurred on Wednesday, he said.

Eskom said it is working around the clock to ensure that the situation is stabilized.

The utility has been battling severe coal shortages in recent weeks and recently said that load shedding remains a possibility for the rest of the year.

Phakamani Hadebe, CEO of Eskom, said on Wednesday when releasing financial results: “The past six months have been a difficult period for Eskom … with steady decline on coal levels threatening the firm’s ability to keep the lights on.”

Jabu Mabuza, chairman of the Eskom board, also stated: “Eskom is in a state of severe financial difficulty. In its current state Eskom is not sustainable.”

It is feared the country will be facing regular electricity outages throughout next year. Enditem


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