File picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The power system remains tight and vulnerable and the probability of load shedding remains, but will only be implemented if there is a shift and if absolutely necessary, according to Eskom.

While the system remained extremely constrained and vulnerable, the objective remained not to implement load shedding over the weekend, the state-owned power utility said in a statement.

"However, given the additional loss of units with unplanned breakdowns now above 11 500 MW and the need to continue to replenish emergency reserves, the probability of load shedding remains, but will only be implemented if absolutely necessary.

"We remind customers that any unexpected shift, such as additional unplanned breakdowns or the unavailability of diesel for our open cycle gas turbines or water levels at pumped storage schemes, could result in load shedding at short notice."

The overnight load shedding implemented on Thursday assisted with the partial recovery of emergency resources. Eskom would need to continue to replenish water levels at pumped storage schemes and diesel for open cycle gas turbines over the weekend in order to place it in a better position to stabilise for the week ahead.

"As communicated in the Summer Plan on 4 of September 2019, unplanned breakdowns above 9500 MW require the use of emergency resources at a high rate and they increase the probability of load shedding if the supply constraints are sustained for a long duration."

Eskom’s technical teams were working tirelessly to return units from planned and unplanned maintenance and to replenish emergency reserves.

A concerted collective effort to reduce demand could further help to lessen the level of load shedding. And as such, Eskom strongly urged customers to assist by helping to reduce demand by using electricity sparingly.

- Set air-conditioners’ average temperature at 23ºC;

- Switch off your geysers over peak periods;

- Use the cold water tap rather than using the geyser every time;

- Set your swimming pool pump cycle to run twice a day, three hours at a time for optimal energy use; and

- At the end of the day, turn off computers, copiers, printers, and fax machines at the switch. Avoid stand-by or sleep mode.

Customers were advised to check their load shedding schedules on the Eskom or municipal websites. Load shedding was conducted rotationally as a measure of last resort to protect the power system from a total collapse or blackout, Eskom said.

African News Agency (ANA)