File picture: Antoine de Ras/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Load shedding is back, with many suburbs, including the Joburg CBD, being hard hit by power cuts.

Most of Fourways and Randburg were without power yesterday, while Cosmo City residents were cut off as early as Friday.

Eskom has warned that the situation could be worse today before the problem is resolved.

Local businesses particularly felt the brunt of load shedding this past weekend.

A fast food store owner, who identified himself as Patel, said the most frustrating thing was the fact that his utility bill was paid up in full monthly, only for him to be inconvenienced.

“When I got to the store around 9am, there was no power. If it does not come back within 24 hours, all the meat and everything in the freezer is going to go off, which will obviously be a loss on our side. It is really unfair that we pay for these services and yet we still suffer,” he said.

Rohan Shaik, the manager of a clothing shop, echoed the same sentiments, and said that since the power outage, the store had only half the number of customers compared to a regular day.

“Since the morning it has been very slow. People just walk past because they are afraid of the dark. Our speed point does not work,” he said.

Social media users were also unimpressed by the power outage.

Professor Jonathan Jansen tweeted: “Nothing makes you lose faith in your government than the loss of simple services like failing to keep the lights on. Load shedding is not a natural disaster; it is mismanagement of the country on a grand scale.”

Eskom said the power outage was due to the high unavailability of the generation plants.

“Generation plants continue to be out on planned maintenance (approximately 5000MW) and there is a higher-than-expected number of units, currently at about 10000MW, on unplanned maintenance due to technical faults. Cahora Bassa hydro-power plant is still supplying 700MW less to the grid as a result of a damaged transmission line, which occurred late on Wednesday.” Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said.

He also said the utility company was experiencing low diesel reserves due to the pressure on the national grid resulting in excessive usage of open-cycle gas turbines. The load shedding possibility this week remained.

"Stage 2 calls for 2000MW to be rotationally load-shed nationally at a given period. Load shedding is conducted rotationally as a measure of last resort to protect the power system from a total collapse or blackout," he added.

"Eskom apologises for the inconvenience and uncertainty this has caused and appeals to residents and businesses to use electricity sparingly at all times."