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No load shedding on Friday

Cape Town – Eskom said on Friday it was suspending rotational powercuts implemented this week after generation units that had broken down returned to service.

“After recovering three generation units overnight, Eskom is pleased to announce that the supply constraints have eased sufficiently to allow for the suspension of load shedding,” the state-owned power company that supplies about 95 percent of South Africa’s electricity said in a statement.

“This also means no load shedding is anticipated for the rest of the weekend. Eskom thanks the people for their assistance during the difficult week of load shedding.”

Eskom has been forced to apply load shedding, which entails throttling demand to ease pressure on the grid, on and off in recent years due to breakdowns largely blamed on its creaking infrastructure which was not properly maintained for years.

On Friday it said three generators had been returned to service at the Lethabo, Medupi and Kusile power stations, although another unit at Kusile was taken offline for repairs.

Unplanned breakdowns were currently at 8 750 megawatts of capacity, adding to the 4 500 MW currently out on planned maintenance, the utility added.

“While the supply constraints have eased for the rest of the weekend, Eskom would like to remind the public to continue using electricity sparingly as the aged generation infrastructure is unpredictable, unreliable and volatile,” it cautioned.

“Any significant deterioration in the generation performance may necessitate the implementation of loadshedding at short notice.”

Eskom is one of several state-owned companies beset with financial problems largely due to mismanagement.

Several former senior executives have left the utility after being implicated in the so-called “state capture” corruption scandal in which the wealthy Gupta family allegedly conspired with politicians in former president Jacob Zuma’s administration to influence decision-making in order to advance their own interests.

African News Agency/ANA