Eskom spent a whopping R10 billion on diesel last year to help keep the lights on. File photo: Dumisani Sibeko

Durban - Load shedding is over – for now.

But hang on to those load-shedding schedules which were made available this week by the eThekwini council.

Following emergency shedding last week, which plunged the country into periods of darkness, Eskom chief executive Brian Dames said further emergency load shedding could not be ruled out.

Eskom declared an emergency at 6am on Thursday and, for the first time since 2008, implemented rotational load shedding.

Bad weather, maintenance problems and the loss of Zimbabwean coal imports were contributing factors for the unscheduled national shutdown.

Dames said rainy weather conditions were forecast until the beginning of next week and any small change on the system could have a significant impact.

Risks included fuel shortages and increased plant maintenance.

“The risks of emergency conditions developing remains with us for the rest of March and into April. From a planning perspective, the unplanned outages are expected to reduce as we go into winter.”

He stressed the importance of customers maintaining and achieving 10 percent electricity savings in the commercial, industrial and residential sectors.

Load shedding was implemented only after all options, including asking customers to reduce usage, were exhausted and demand continued to outweigh supply.

The system remained tight and was vulnerable to any changes going into winter.

This would remain so for the next few years until the build programme was completed.

The programme, which is intended to stabilise the system, includes work resuming at Ingula pumped-storage, seven of the 47 wind turbines at Sere power station being completed and the strengthening of major sections of the power grids in the Western Cape, Limpopo and Gauteng.

Dames urged all customers, particularly municipalities and commercial sectors, to manage and cut all electricity wastage.

Sunday Tribune