Picture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters.

CAPE TOWN - State-owned power utility Eskom on Monday urged South Africans to use electricity efficiently to minimise load shedding during cold weather conditions.

Eskom said the demand for electricity was projected to increase and the power system was forecast to be tight for this week.  

The winter plan indicates a higher demand, with three days being extremely tight, with a high risk of load shedding. South Africans can make a huge difference by rallying towards the common cause of using electricity efficiently, having the collective potential of reducing demand by up to 500 MW and saving the equivalent of 1 unit at a power station.

Eskom Group chief executive, Phakamani Hadebe said: “We have done an extensive winter plan and review of our power system and identified the problems. While the plan gives us confidence that we may go through winter with no or limited load shedding, we are mindful of the potential of risks on a very tight power system which may result in shifts on the power system and which could result in load shedding.  

“We have mapped out scenarios that show that we will implement load shedding in cases where unplanned breakdowns increase to more than 9 500 MW, delays in returning units from planned maintenance or in cases of unanticipated disruptive events.”

According to the winter plan for last week, three days were significantly tight with a high risk of load shedding. Eskom was successful in keeping the lights on as a result of improved performance of commercial units which resulted in unplanned breakdown of around 8500 MW.

“The first few days in April have given reassurance of the integrity of our plan as we managed to avoid load shedding on three days where it was forecasted due to the good performance of our plant. We managed to go through periods of high demand in the evening peak without using a lot of diesel,” added Hadebe.

African News Agency (ANA)