Eskom: Rolling blackouts until generators fixed

Eskom announced on Monday that it would implement rolling blackouts until three of its generators are fixed.

Spokesperson Andrew Etzinger said it started with stage one power cuts.

“Three large generators at our power stations are out of service,” said Etzinger.

Eskom earlier said supplies at its pump storage power stations had been restored, and there would be no blackouts during the week. At the weekend, Eskom and municipalities resorted to stage three power cuts.

Etzinger said the latest power cuts would last most of Monday, and “things should be better” as soon as the generators were back online.

Constraints in February and March
The electricity supply is expected to be constrained in February and March, Eskom said.

“February and March are concerning for us. This due to budgetary constraints. Our financial director is looking at options in this regard,” chief executive Tshediso Matona told journalists in Johannesburg.

The power supply would depend on the availability of diesel during that period, he said. The power utility used 140-million litres of diesel to produce power in November.

“We have had situations during this past week where the ordering of diesel was delayed due to budget constraints. Sometimes, in terms of logistics, things do not go smoothly between us, PetroSA and other suppliers,” he said.

Matona apologised to the nation for the recent power blackouts.

“Eskom apologises to the nation for the inconvenience of the past few weeks,” Matona said. “The events were completely unexpected, especially on Thursday and Friday.”

The power utility implemented stage two blackouts on Thursday and stage three on Friday. Stage one allows for up to 1 000MW of the national load to be shed, stage two for up to 2 000MW and stage three for up to 4 000MW.

Eskom was doing everything possible to manage the outages, Matona said. “It really pains us to have to load shed. We know the public is not pleased.”

He said a complete blackout would spell disaster for the country.

“We load shed out of responsibility … A complete blackout would be catastrophic and can take weeks to recover from.”

Businesses hurt
Meanwhile, as Eskom continues its countrywide rolling blackouts while it tries to build up power reserves, Johannesburg businesses are feeling the effects.

Some buy generators to keep going, sell products that do not go off, or simply shut their doors.

“It is not easy for us because we work with freezers. We lose a lot of products in the process,” said Dan Ayami from Simply Fish in Emmarentia. Electricity was not just needed to store the fish in freezers, he said.

“If we don’t have electricity, we can’t even use machines to cut our fish. Customers come here and leave disappointed because they can’t get what they want. With no electricity, there is no business. We are losing money,” he said.

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt, also in Emmarentia, had to turn customers away during power cuts, said manager Keabetswe Motloutsi.

“When there is no electricity we don’t meet our targets because normally our first customers come around 1pm. If it [power] goes off around that time and returns in the evening, we don’t sell anything,” she said, adding that the yoghurt went off.

One of their machines had broken as a result of power disruptions, Motloutsi said.

The Doppio Zero restaurant in Greenside had to cancel bookings for 300 to 400 customers on Friday.

Manager Dean Snyman said although City Power had assured it the area would not be affected, it was. “We could only serve pizzas and salads,” he said.

Snyman said it would be installing a generator “at a massive cost”.

Some businesses installed generators a long time ago.

Alastair Bishop, of Jolly Cool in Parkhurst, said the two generators he had bought were helping his business survive.

“We saw that the problem is not going away, so might as well incorporate it into our everyday running. At the moment we are not losing revenue because the generator helps a lot, but it is not an ideal situation,” he said.

He said although the diesel they used was an additional expense, businesses would make back the money during power cuts. – Sapa, Staff reporter

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Guest Author

Related stories

The solar energy market will grow if innovative business models are developed

Southern African suppliers should consider entering into partnerships with financiers to offer off-grid, hybrid and prepaid solutions to customers

Eskom’s emissions are not compatible with the South African constitution

The government must not cave to Eskom’s demand that it be exempt from air pollution rules. Furthermore, the power utility needs to stay true to the principles of its own just transition strategy

Ramaphosa: We want investment pledges to translate into new jobs

To move out of South Africa’s economic funk, Ramaphosa is prioritising the materialisation of pledges made at the previous investment conferences.

Fossil fuel support lands SA in the G20 dog box

South Africa has been ranked the second worst performer of the G20 non-OECD member countries, behind Saudi Arabia, for its lack of transparency and continued support for fossil production, fossil-fuel based power and consumption of fossil fuels

Barbara Creecy: ‘You can make a difference if you want to’

The minister of environment, forestry and fisheries, likes to watch the British medical drama series Casualty, she tells Sheree Bega

SAA to receive R10.5-billion government bailout after all

Several struggling state-owned entities received extra funds after the medium term budget policy speech

Subscribers only

Covid-19 surges in the Eastern Cape

With people queuing for services, no water, lax enforcement of mask rules and plenty of partying, the virus is flourishing once again, and a quarter of the growth is in the Eastern Cape

Ace prepares ANC branches for battle

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is ignoring party policy on corruption-charged officials and taking his battle to branch level, where his ‘slate capture’ strategy is expected to leave Ramaphosa on the ropes

More top stories

See people as individual humans, not as a race

We need to ingrain values of equality in education, businesses, society broadly and religious groups to see people

JJ Rawlings left an indelible mark on Ghana’s history

The air force pilot and former president used extreme measures, including a coup, enforced ‘discipline’ through executions, ‘disappearances’ and floggings, but reintroduced democracy

Sudan’s government gambles over fuel-subsidy cuts — and people pay...

Economists question the manner in which the transitional government partially cut fuel subsidies

Traditional healers need new spaces

Proper facilities supported by well-researched cultural principles will go a long way to improving the image and perception of the practice of traditional medicine

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…