Eskom declares electricity emergency

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Eskom on Thursday 20 February declared an electricity emergency and asked its industrial customers to reduce their load by 10% as of this afternoon.

The power system is severely constrained due to the loss of additional generating units from Eskom’s power station fleet, reduced imports and the extensive use of emergency reserves.

“This has necessitated the need for Eskom to declare an emergency in terms of the approved regulatory protocols, as a measure to protect the national electricity grid. We have alerted our key industrial customers and have required them to reduce their load by a minimum of 10% as from 2pm today,” said the power utility.

The emergency is in place until 9pm tonight, after which it will be reviewed to determine the way forward.

Eskom said every effort will be made to avoid load shedding.

“While we will make every effort to avoid load shedding, we are hopeful that by applying these measures, coupled with support from all electricity consumers, we will achieve the required load reduction necessary to protect the national grid,” said Eskom.

The power utility called on all its commercial customers, particularly shopping centres and retail outlets, to immediately switch off geysers and to adjust air-conditioning temperature levels to 23C.  

It also appealed to workers leaving office buildings this evening to switch off lights with the exception of the security lighting, and avoid leaving air-conditioning on overnight.

Residential consumers are called on to switch off geysers, air conditioners, lights and non-essential appliances from 5pm to 9pm.

As a precautionary measure, Eskom’s load shedding schedules are available for Eskom direct customers on its website (

Customers can also contact Eskom’s call centre on 0860 037 566 for additional information.

Load shedding schedules will only be used for the duration of the constraint and Eskom will provide regular updates on the status of the power system. –

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