Eskom announces stage four load shedding until further notice

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PHOTO: Gypseenia Lion

Ailing parastatal Eskom has ramped up load shedding to stage 4 as it battles to keep the lights on.

Eskom increased the load shedding after initially announcing that stage 3 and stage would be implemented until further notice.

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha made the announcement on Friday as the country head into the weekend citing a number of issues.

“Stage 4 electricity cuts was implemented at 05:26 this morning until further notice.”

“Breakdowns amounting to 17 056MW of generation capacity, low pumped storage dam levels and lack of diesel are the reasons for the increase in load shedding,” he said.

More load shedding

On Tuesday, Eskom warned South Africans to brace themselves for longer periods of load shedding during the power utility’s operating performance and the state of rolling blackouts briefing.

South Africans have so far endured an excruciating 162 days of power cuts this year with no end in sight as Eskom continues to experience what it called “capacity challenges”.

No money for diesel

Seven months into its current financial year, Eskom has already exceeded its R11billion diesel budget by about R1billion, which means that for the next few months it will struggle to afford to run its diesel-powered emergency generation fleet.

Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer warned that the utility was now in the “difficult position” where it is forced to implement blackouts because it does not “have the money to burn diesel at the rate [it] has been doing up to now.”

Saboteur arrested

Meanwhile, the parastatal also announced that a contractor working at the Camden Power Station had been arrested after he was linked to an incident of sabotage which resulted in unit 4 at the facility tripping.

Mantshantsha said the perpetrator confessed that he intentionally removed an oil plug, causing burners to trip repeatedly.

“The saboteur was handcuffed on Tuesday following investigations by Eskom’s onsite teams, Mantshantha said.

Faizel Patel/The Citizen