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04 Dec 2012 07:48
Eskom has asked consumers to keep saving electricity as its spare supply dropped after a series of unplanned outages. (Gallo)
In a bi-weekly status update, Eskom said it had 32 326 MW of capacity for the Monday evening peak hours when people returned home and turned on stoves and air conditioners, against forecast demand of 31 389 MW, leaving a buffer of just under 1 000 MW.
The available capacity includes gas-fired emergency reserves.
At one point in January earlier this year, the difference between peak demand and available capacity was a tiny 460 MW, mainly due to maintenance and unplanned outages. On that occasion, Eskom was brought close to the rolling blackouts that badly hit Africa's largest economy in 2008.
Eskom is walking a tightrope to keep power flowing to factories, mines and smelters that had to shut down for days four years ago, costing the economy billions of dollars in lost output and causing a spike in the price of metals such as gold and platinum, of which South Africa is a major producer.
While there are no rolling blackouts planned for now, Eskom has asked consumers to cut demand to ease strain on the system.
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