Eskom has commenced with stage 1 load shedding, which is anticipated to continue until tonight.
“Eskom commenced with stage 1 load shedding at 11:29am today. We anticipate that this will continue until 9pm tonight. This is due to the impact of the current illegal protest action by some Eskom employees at various sites over wage increases,” said the power utility.
While Eskom is working with all relevant stakeholders to keep its plants operating optimally, there is a high risk of load shedding over the weekend.
“Eskom calls on all consumers to assist by reducing their electricity consumption by switching off geysers, electric heating, pool pumps and all non-essential appliances throughout the day,” said the company.
Earlier, Eskom said the power system was reasonably stable following a night of load shedding.
Stage 1 load shedding allows for up to 1 000MW to be shed off the grid.
Industrial action at Eskom plants began yesterday, following Eskom’s announcement earlier in the week that there would be a 0% wage increment.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and NUMSA on Tuesday rejected the utility’s wage offer. Unions, who are demanding a 15% wage increase, staged pickets in response to the 0% increment.
Meanwhile on Thursday, the Liberated Metalworkers Union of South Africa (LIMUSA) announced its support of the action taken by workers at Eskom.
Prior to implementing load shedding, Eskom on Thursday announced that the generation and distribution of electricity across its network was constrained due to acts of sabotage and intimidation. There had been several incidents of road blockades, attacks on staff, and wilful damage of electricity infrastructure.
On Friday, the utility thanked its workers who have continued working under “very difficult circumstances”, as well as all South Africans who have heeded the call to action to use electricity sparingly.
The Eskom load shedding schedule can be accessed on www.loadshedding.eskom.co.za.
Eskom customers can also contact the customer call centre on 0860 037 566.