JOHANNESBURG - Power utility Eskom has apologised to South Africans after on Monday abruptly implementing stage 6 load shedding, an unprecedented move in which it suppressed up to 6 000 megawatts of electricity demand to avoid a total collapse of the strained national grid.
The company effected stage 6 load shedding from 6pm until 10pm on Monday, before scaling down to stage 4, which entails throttling 4 000 MW of demand at any given time and would remain in place until 11 pm on Tuesday.
Eskom said Monday's emergency shift to stage 6 had been necessitated by a high rate of generating unit breakdowns, while the power supply to the incline conveyors feeding coal to the silos at its Medupi power station had also failed, further contributing to the shortage in capacity.
It said technical teams had worked around the clock so coal handling operations could resume at Medupi.
"Eskom unreservedly apologises to all South Africans for the inconvenience during this difficult period," acting group chief executive and interim executive chairman Jabu Mabuza said.