ELECTRICITY was cut across large parts of South Africa‚ including the country’s economic centre‚ Johannesburg‚ on Thursday (06/03/2014) as state power utility Eskom cut power supply for the first time since April 2008‚ Eskom’s media desk confirmed.
South Africa has been on tight power supply since load shedding in 2008 cost the economy billions as demand outstripped supply. Eskom had not built new power generation capacity in more than a decade to 2005.
National load shedding started at 9am and would be rotational in two-hour sessions until 10pm on Thursday evening‚ Eskom said.
Eskom had budgeted R385bn for building new generation capacity between 2005 and last year‚ and wants to secure much more funding — possibly surpassing a trillion rand by 2026.
Since the programme started in 2005‚ an additional 4‚453.5MW has already been commissioned. The plan is to deliver an additional 16‚304MW in power station capacity by 2017‚ but some continuing construction projects have been delayed‚ notably the 4‚800MW Medupi and 4‚800MW Kusile power stations.
South Africa is dependent on coal for most of its electricity‚ and heavy rains in the past week had soaked much of the coal supply.
Eskom spokesman Andrew Etzinger was in a television interview at the time BDlive called‚ but he had told Sapa earlier that there would be load shedding in different suburbs across the country.
Municipalities were informed of the need to reduce electricity and they would decide in which suburbs to cut power.
Another Eskom spokesman said that last year was the first time the power utility had conducted maintenance in summer and winter‚ and this work was continuing. Load shedding would affect all of South Africa‚ including large industry.
Earlier on Thursday‚ Eskom declared a power emergency and Mr Etzinger said seven days of heavy rain had left coal stocks wet. © BDlive 2014