Johannesburg - Power utility Eskom has announced that due to "severe power constraints", it will implement stage one of load shedding on Thursday night between 5.50pm and 8pm. 

This comes as trade unions at Eskom are currently engaged in a shut down of operations and earlier staged a picket at the utility's power stations and at headquarters in Megawatt Park over a wage dispute. 

Workers are demanding salary increments of up to 15% while Eskom is offering none. 

Eskom has said its power stations in Mpumalanga, including Hendrina, Camden, Kendal, and Arnot, had been worst-affected by the industrial action.

The power utility in a statement said that the national power system will be constrained as a result of the industrial action. 

"Eskom calls on all consumers to assist by reducing their electricity consumption to reduce the risk of load shedding by switching off geysers, electric heating, pool pumps, and all non-essential appliances tonight from 5pm to 8pm.

#PowerUpdate: Due to severe power constraints, Eskom will implement stage 1 of loadshedding from now (17:50) until 20:00. Acts of intimidation and sabotage have resulted in Eskom being unable to ensure uninterrupted power supply. @SABCNewsOnline @afroworldview @JacaNews @IOL

"Eskom has mobilised responders across the company and is working with other national structures and stakeholders to keep its plant operating in the context of current industrial action. As a last resort, Eskom will implement its power system contingencies, including controlled load shedding, to avoid a blackout/shutdown of the national power system."

The company added that it would continue providinh regular updates on the status of the power system through all media platforms.

Load shedding schedules are available on the Eskom website