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Saturday, August 13, 2022

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Stage 4 load shedding predicted this weekend while wage negotiations continue

Unlit candles in coffee mugs along with a kettle on a countertop, during a power outage on the West Rand in Gauteng. Picture: Karen Sandison

Unlit candles in coffee mugs along with a kettle on a countertop, during a power outage on the West Rand in Gauteng. Picture: Karen Sandison

Published Jul 1, 2022

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Eskom is expected to implement Stage 4 load shedding from 7am to midnight on Saturday and Sunday while Stage 2 load shedding is expected to be implemented from midnight to 7am over the weekend.

Ethekwini municipality is exempt from load shedding as a large area in the KwaZulu-Natal municipality is trying to restore the power network that was damaged during the floods.

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The power utility’s CEO, Andre de Ruyter, has confirmed that wage talks started at 9am on Friday and were ongoing during the time of Eskom’s media briefing.

Employees have downed tools since June 22, resulting in load shedding increasing to Stage 6.

“Due to the unlawful and unprotected strike which has caused widespread disruption to Eskom’s power plant, Eskom is still unavailable to return some generators to service.

“Eskom is compelled to take this unprecedented step to conserve emergency generation capacity to safeguard the power system,” Eskom said at the time.

Eskom announced the Stage 6 load shedding schedule to be implemented on Thursday through to Friday.

Eskom said it was difficult to conduct routine maintenance as many employees were absent, while some employees were intimidated during the recent protest that ensued over the stalled wage negotiations.

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De Ruyter said about three stages of load shedding could be attributed to the unprotected strike by essential workers.

He said the power utility had spent about R1.54 billion – about double its budget – on diesel recently.

While the risk of Stage 8 load shedding was “very low”, it would also depend on what happens to the network in the coming days, the power utility said.

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“We do not foresee load shedding going beyond Stage 6,” said Isabel Fick, the general manager of Eskom’s System Operator.

Eskom chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer said there was added risk to the operation if striking workers did not return to work.

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