Lights back on – for now

ROLLING blackouts scheduled for today are no longer expected to take place as non-stop repair work at Eskom’s Majuba power station and the return to service of additional power- producing units have reduced the need for load-shedding.

This follows the unexpected rolling blackouts in Nelson Mandela Bay on Sunday after a coal silo which feeds the Majuba power station in Mpumalanga collapsed on Saturday.

To supply the additional silos with coal, trucks were having to drop their coal at a rate of 15 to 16 trucks an hour, according to Eskom generation group executive Thavi Govender.

Eskom said yesterday it had avoided the load-shedding planned for yesterday and did not anticipate any today.

However, it said while the prognosis for the week was better than expected, the entire supply system would be under extreme pressure tomorrow and on Thursday as the water reserves built up over the weekend for its peaking plants would be depleted. Peaking plants use pumped water to generate electricity during periods of high demand.

“Work at the Majuba power station has progressed better than anticipated,” a spokesman for the power utility said.

“Teams have worked non-stop since Saturday and have been able to connect coal feeder units which have enabled us to ramp up the supply from 600MW to 1200MW.

“Once again, we appeal to consumers to reduce their electricity usage throughout the day, especially between 6pm and 10pm.”

It urged people again to switch off geysers, air-conditioners, pool pumps and all non- essential appliances to prevent the need for rotational load-shedding.

Bay municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said Sunday’s load-shedding in the metro had caught the municipality off guard.

He apologised to residents and business for the lack of warning about the blackouts.

“From what we understand, there will be no load-shedding today and the risk of [further] load-shedding has been reduced,” Mniki said. – Shaun Gillham

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