File picture: Karen Sandison/ANA Pictures
The pinch of Eskom’s coal crunch, in which 11 power stations are below the minimum levels, has finally kicked in, as the season’s first load-shedding blackouts began.

On Sunday, the power utility announced rolling blackouts for almost 10 hours around the country, with Eskom citing a need to “preserve emergency resources” as the reason for the load shedding.

In Joburg, more than 20 suburbs lost power as the coal shortage has resulted in the state-owned entity burning expensive diesel to keep the lights on.

City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena said they would have stage 1 load shedding in Block 4B areas from noon to 4.30pm, affecting substations including Prospect, Cleveland, Wemmer, Moffat SS and Crown SS. 

“Suburbs affected include Turffontein, Reuven, Haddon, Kenilworth, Rosettenville, West Turffontein, La Rochelle, South Hills, Linmeyer, Oakdene, The Glen Shopping Centre, part of Bassonia, Regents Park, Rewlatch, Glenesk, Stafford, Townsview, and Towerby. 

"Also, from Crown substation we have Booysens Reserve, Nasrec, Frampton Theta and part of Ormonde affected.”

Last week, Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe told The Star the utility would be forging ahead with its plan to sign coal-supply contracts to mitigate the shortfall.

“Additional coal contracts are in the pipeline to be concluded between now and March 2019, three of which should be concluded before the second week of December,” Phasiwe said.

By Sunday night, Eskom said load shedding was stopped at 7pm and apologised to affected communities.