State electricity provider, Eskom, has issued a statement declaring an electricity state of emergency countrywide.
In a statement by Eskom on Facebook earlier today, the service provider claimed that the power grid is under high pressure during peak hours. “The grid remains under significant strain, particularly from 17:30 to 18:30, when the demand strikes, primarily due to residential usage,” they said in their post.
According to Eskom spokesperson, Andrew Etzinger, the power cuts will mainly occur during the hours between five and nine PM. However, load shedding allegedly will not occur on Friday, as the energy demand is typically lower than any other peak periods within the week.
Deliberate power cuts will occur country-wide after 18:00 today. Eskom announced that all power will resume after 21:00. In order to manage the increase in demand for electricity during the particularly cold winter months which are being experienced, Eskom has pleaded with the consumer to lower energy usage by at least 10%. “We require voluntary savings of at least ten percent in order to manage demand. Should the demand not be decreased, load shedding will be implemented as a last resort to protect the national grid from a complete shutdown,” stated Etzinger earlier today.
On Wednesday night, Eskom had to deliberately cut power to certain areas of the country following trips at two units on the grid.
In order to enable consumers to plan in advance, Eskom has issued a load shedding schedule, which will be adhered to, in the event that power usage is not reduced and another overloading of the grid is experienced. They urge the consumer to contact them with any queries and details can be obtained on the power supplier’s web page. The page sports a bold headline reading, “Eskom is currently load shedding in stage 1.” According to Etzinger, the company will progress in to stage two of load shedding, should the initial phase not reduce strain on the grid sufficiently.
According to the acting Eskom CEO, Collins Matjila, Eskom has the necessary security measures in place to ensure that overall, the country’s electricity demand will be met. Unit six at the Medupi power station in Lephalali in Limpopo is due to be up and running in the first quarter of 2015, which should help to alleviate the power constraints currently facing the country.