Eskom cautiously confident about festive season power cuts

DECEMBER 19, 2014

Eskom said on Thursday that it is "cautiously confident" that it would not have to implement blackouts over the festive season despite the power system being constrained.

"The power system is expected to remain constrained but stable this week and the rest of the festive season, and as a result the risk of load shedding is low during this period," it said in a statement.

However, any extra load or faults in the system could lead to Eskom implementing power cuts.

"We will use this period of low electricity demand to intensify our plant maintenance programme," it said.

The power utility urged South Africans to use electricity sparingly by "living lightly."

It asked customers to switch off geysers, pool pumps and non-essential lights, to use air-conditioners efficiently by keeping room temperatures at 23 degrees Celsius, and to respond to alerts broadcast on TV each evening.

Customers should reduce their electricity usage between 5.30pm and 6.30pm to ease pressure on the system, it said. In recent weeks, the utility has battled to keep the lights on and with maintenance issues.

On December 5, Eskom implemented stage three "load shedding." Stage one allows for up to 1 000MW of the national load to be shed, stage two for up to 2 000MW and stage three for up to 4 000MW.

On December 8, Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona denied that the State utility is in a crisis.