While Eskom said there was a high chance of load shedding on Wednesday, the power utility made it clear that customers have a role to play in lowering the possibility of power cuts.
Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said the reason Tuesday’s stage 1 load shedding was cut short early at 21:00 was because two of its generators had come back online.
“At this stage, we have enough generation capacity,” he told Fin24. “But we can see a spike in electricity usage, which could be as a result of the chilly weather that has hit Johannesburg.”
According to Weather24, there was a 15% chance of rain in Johannesburg with temperatures dipping to a wintery 11°C.
“We do understand that the elderly need to keep warm, but I would like to urge other users to turn off their heaters as this is adding unnecessary strain on the grid,” he said.
Other ways customers could reduce the risk of load shedding would be by switching off geysers, air conditioners, pool pumps and all non-essential appliances throughout the day.
Another contributing factor that could help South Africans avoid load shedding was the possibility that a further three generators down for repairs could come back online on Wednesday.
Eskom said in a statement on Tuesday evening that the electricity supply system remains “very vulnerable” for the rest of the week due to a shortage of generation capacity as several units are currently out of service due to planned and unplanned outages.
“Any unforeseen incident in the power system could thus trigger the implementation of load shedding,” it said.
Eskom denies reinstating fired workers at Medupi
The SABC reported on Wednesday that Eskom had agreed to reinstate all the workers at Medupi power station who were fired from the unprotected protest on March 25.
“Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe says the contractors and labour unions have agreed that those who were dismissed will report for work on Wednesday,” the SABC reported.
However, Phasiwe told Fin24 that the workers had not been reinstated.
“There is a disciplinary process under way and the workers who were dismissed have not been reinstated,” he said.
On Tuesday, National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa head of collective bargaining Steve Nhlapo told Fin24 that workers had decided to stay away from work on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, Phasiwe said he had heard no reports of strike action at Medupi power station, but because it was a stay-away and not a protest outside the power plant, he could not confirm that it was not taking place.