Loadshedding raised to stage four as strike at Eskom begins to bite

Power utility Eskom on Friday elevated loadshedding to stage four in an attempt to conceive emergency generation reserves following the strike at its power stations.

The escalation to stage four will kick in at 11am on Friday until midnight, and resume at 5am on Saturday through to midnight, and again on Sunday.

“Ahead of these disturbances, the power system had already been under considerable strain for a while, with stage two currently being implemented,” the power utility said before escalating power cuts from stage two to stage four on Friday.

Eskom warned the public that as the shortage of generation capacity persists, the system will continue to be constrained with an elevated risk of loadshedding over the next few weeks.

It added that it will continue to monitor the system and communicate any changes as maybe necessary and urged the public to help limit the impact of the shortages by using electricity sparingly.

On Wednesday, Eskom escalated stage-two loadshedding saying the rolling blackouts would be implemented from 10am until midnight. It added that from Thursday until Sunday, loadshedding will take place from 5am until midnight.

Eskom said at the time that the turn of events was necessitated by the breakdown of four generation units early on Wednesday that contributed to capacity constraints.

According to media reports, Eskom has confirmed that it has reached a deadlock with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) during wage negotiations at the Central Bargaining Forum, bringing the process to a close.

This after Numsa said on Wednesday that the management had declared a dispute at the beginning of the fourth round of wage talks after the union tabled its revised demands.

In May, Numsa demanded a 15% wage increase across the board, which Eskom maintained it could not afford.

As the breakdown of talks remained a likelihood, Eskom CEO André de Ruyter told a media briefing at the time that the power utility did not expect an unprotected strike at the entity over a wage talks deadlock.

Eskom employees are prohibited by law from embarking on a strike because the provision of electricity to the nation is considered an essential service.

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