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Load shedding implemented again in S. Africa
Last Updated: 2018-06-15 04:08 | Xinhua
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Load shedding was implemented in parts of South Africa on Thursday due to electricity supply constraint caused by industrial action, authorities said.

Stage-one load shedding was commenced at 5:41 p.m. on Thursday, said Eskom, the state-owned electricity utility which provides more than 95 percent of electricity consumed in South Africa.

"We anticipate that this will continue until 8 p.m. tonight," the utility said.

Eskom said it is load shedding according to the published load shedding schedules.

Stage one allows for up to 1,000MW of the national load to be shed once a day. If the pressure grows, stage two for up to 2,000MW or stage three for up to 4,000MW would be shed. At stage two, power goes off twice a day, while at stage three, electricity could be cut two or three times a day.

The generation and distribution of electricity in the country has been constrained due to industrial action, raising fears that similar load shedding is on the way as in 2014 and 2015 when frequent load shedding gripped the country.

Electrity supply network has been affected by acts of sabotage and intimidation that characterize the current industrial action by members of the trade unions, said Eskom.

There have been several incidents of road blockades, attacks on staff, and wilful damage of electricity infrastructure, according to Eskom.

"As a result, all road coal deliveries have been stopped for security reasons. The safety of all our employees is of paramount importance to us during this time," said Eskom.

Eskom is now facing a serious coal shortage at seven power stations.

Coal deliveries by rail deliveries and conveyor belts still continue to operate, albeit at limited capacity, the utility said.

The power stations that are worst-affected by the industrial action are Hendrina, Camden, Kendal and Arnot, Eskom said.

"We appreciate and thank our employees who continue to work hard to keep the lights on," it said.

Eskom workers have embarked on an industrial action in protest against the utility's offer of a zero-percent wage increase. Trade unions demand increases of between nine and 15 percent.

As the country's major electricity supplier, Eskom implements load shedding as a last resort to protect the national system from a total blackout which would have significant impact on the economic development of South Africa.

Eskom said it will continue to provide regular updates about the state of the power system through various media platforms.

South Africa has suffered from power insufficiency since 2008. Power cuts, which have cost the economy an estimated 300 billion rand (about 23 billion U.S. dollars) since 2008, again become commonplace between 2014 and 2015 after two coal-burning major power stations broke down.

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