Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan and the chairperson of the Eskom Board, Jabu Mabuza, will hold a media briefing to give an update on electricity supply problems on Tuesday morning in Johannesburg.
South Africans have faced five consecutive days of load shedding, including power cuts at night, as power utility Eskom battles a generation shortfall.
Stage 2 load shedding was implemented on Friday. This moved to Stage 4 on Saturday, a weekend in summer when demand is typically low. The country has remained between stage 2 and stage 4 since then. The rolling cuts have hit small and medium sized businesses, caused traffic snarl-ups traffic and led to some cellphone network failures.
On Sunday, in a statement, Gordhan said frequent load shedding “and in particular Stage 4 load shedding, is unacceptable and disruptive to our economy”.
Gordhan said his department, together with National Treasury, would assist Eskom to fast-track the procurement of “essential goods and services” required to urgently repair generating units at local stations.
The cuts have been exacerbated by by storm damage to the Mozambican transmission lines to SA from the Cahora Bassa hydroelectric generation station.
Eight generator units are also currently down in South Africa to allow for boiler tube leaks to be fixed. There have also been low emergency stocks of diesel to power open cycle gas turbines, which are used as a last resort while plant breakdowns are fixed or maintenance carried out.
However, Eskom expects the situation to improve from Thursday’s public holiday and into the weekend as demand falls. A shipment of diesel arrived in SA on Monday and will be ready for use in the next couple days, bringing some relief to the grid.
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