Eskom has announced it will completely suspend load-shedding for four hours on Thursday in order for South Africans to bear witness to the memorial service of King Goodwill Zwelithini.
“In order to allow the nation to participate in the memorial service of His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzule, Eskom has decided to suspend the implementation of load-shedding between 10:00 and 14:00 tomorrow,” the utility stated on Wednesday night.
Eskom said this extraordinary measure has been implemented to allow the nation to witness a key and significant historical event at a difficult time in the life of the Zulu nation.
After 14:00, load-shedding will be implemented and continue as previously communicated, which should mean that Stage 2 load-shedding would resume until 5:00 on Saturday morning.
According to Eskom, as of Wednesday evening it had a shortage of almost 19,000MW of the generation capacity to meet full demand.
“We currently have 6,025MW on planned maintenance, while another 12,960MW of capacity is unavailable due to breakdowns and delays,” the utility said.
“The power system remains constrained and vulnerable, and as such, Eskom requests the public to continue reducing the usage of electricity in order to minimise the pressure on the system.”
Events of national importance
Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha previously told MyBroadband that the electricity regulatory code makes provision for the utility to accommodate certain changes to load-shedding.
These changes include keeping Parliament and the Union Buildings off load-shedding schedules during events of national importance, like the annual state of the nation address.
Mantshantsha said that Eskom was part of the team that ensures the synchronisation of national events of importance.
“We do take note of these events that include issues of major sporting events, Matric exams, and political importance,” he said.
“While we always try to avoid load-shedding, we take special planning measures around these events of national importance in our country’s democracy.”
Eskom this year had to resort to using its open cycle gas turbines (OCGT) generation to avoid load-shedding during President Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation address.
The utility has told MyBroadband that it costs around R500,000 per hour to generate power from one of these units – or R7 million in total to operate for two hours.