Eskom has begun to implement rational load reduction strategies in Gauteng, with Tshwane being impacted on Friday 19 June.
As industries lurch back into action and cities awake from a lockdown-induced slumber, South Africa's embattled power utility has embarked on a new 'power saving' strategy intended to lighten the load on the nation's power grid. Gauteng has been targeted in this approach, with suburbs and townships being subjected to power cuts throughout the week.
Citing serious concerns regarding the power grid's volatility, Eskom has placed the blame on illegal electrical connections which have overwhelmed substations and other critical supply points. The power utility, which vowed to limit the amount of national load shedding in winter to just three days, says that the strain caused by illegal connections has been compounded by a surge in usage.
Earlier in the week, large parts of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni were subjected to disruptive load reduction programmes, with Eskom urging residents to reduce usage and assist technicians with the removal of illegal connections.
Eskom load reduction in Tshwane, Friday 19 June
On Friday 19 June, Eskom announced that its Gauteng network remained "extremely overloaded" and moved its load reduction strategy north to Tshwane. Eskom revealed that the following areas would be affected throughout the day:
- Soshanguve[*]Enkangala[*]Winterveldt[*]Kudube[*]Kopanong[*]Klipgat[*]Jakkalas[*]Kromkuil[*]Makanyeng,[*]Masoga[*]Mmakaunyana[*]Garankuwa[*]Garankuwa Industrial
While Eskom did not specify time allocations for the load reduction strategy in Tshwane, previous power cuts have been implemented during high-usage hours, generally between 17:00 and 22:00.
Rotational reduction strategy: The new load shedding?
Eskom's recent load reduction strategy has been met with public outcry, with many fearing the imminent return of nationwide load shedding. Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter recently revealed that the power utility had managed to improve its operational capacity and, as such, had reduced its winter load shedding projections.
Eskom initially proposed 31 days of load shedding during the high-usage winter months, which, during de Ruyter's State of the System briefing on 21 May, was revised to just three days. Concerns surrounding Eskom's ability to meet supply — at a time when businesses redouble their efforts to recoup losses resulting from lockdown — loom large.
Residents of areas impacted by the recent power cuts claim that Eskom's heavy-handed approach to illegal connections and defaulting municipalities has left many paying customers in the dark.