JOHANNESBURG – President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday the prospect of more power cuts by utility Eskom were “most worrying”.
The cash-strapped company warned of wider controlled power cuts on Monday after six additional generating units unexpectedly went offline.
“That comes as quite a shock. It is reported that there are six units that are down – that is most worrying, most disturbing,” said Ramaphosa during a live Twitter broadcast.
LISTEN: #LoadShedding woes: Eskom explains what’s behind the power blackouts
Eskom will need to shed more than 4,000MW to keep the national grid from collapsing.
What this means is the state-owned power utility starts additional, unscheduled power cuts wherever it needs to and outside of its schedules.
This also means your area can be hit by blackouts at any time without any warning. The country hasn’t reached this stage since 2008.
Stage four will double the frequency of stage two, which means you will be scheduled for load shedding 12 times over a four-day period for two hours at a time, or 12 times over an eight-day period for four hours at a time.
Eskom’s Khulu Phasiwe says it’s unclear what the situation will look like on Tuesday.
“The system remains very constraint with the possibility that we will continue to have these instabilities for much of this week.”
Eskom says rotational load shedding protects the power grid from total collapse.
The utility has been facing major challenges due to ageing infrastructure.
Ramaphosa appointed a team in mid-December after the power utility was forced to repeatedly implement load shedding, partly due to a shortage of coal supplies.
Meanwhile, the Minerals Council South Africa says the unexpected implementation of stage four load shedding is a safety risk for mines that have over 150,000 people working underground.
The council’s Henk Langenhoven says production has been severely affected: “It seems as if it’s a 20-25% loss in production. That is quite serious… and they are very concerned about this week.”