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Eskom warns load shedding could persist throughout the weekend

SABC News Load Shedding REUTERS - Eskom warns load shedding could persist throughout the weekend

Eskom has warned that if the wet weather in large parts of the country persists, load shedding is likely to be implemented throughout the weekend.

The power utility began with Stage 2 load shedding on Thursday and moved up to Stage 4 at 2 o’clock on Friday. This is expected to continue until 6 o’clock on Saturday morning.

According to Eskom, they are beginning to experience coal-handling problems at a number of power stations as a result of wet coal, which has led to generation units being unable to produce power.

Energy Analyst Chris Yelland says Eskom‘s old and aging infrastructure and plants are the main reasons for the country’s latest bout of load shedding.

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Yelland says, “The situation is that the wet coal becomes a problem when the stock piles at the power station are very low. Because then at the bottom of the stock pile, you get this powdery sort of coal and it becomes very difficult to handle … the old plants are getting older and the new plants have got some technical problems at Medupi and Khusile.”

Yelland adds that the current load shedding will have an impact on the Gross Domestic Product in the fourth quarter if it continues for more than a week. Stats SA earlier this week announced that the economy had contracted by 0.6% in the third quarter.

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“The load shedding earlier this year showed some significant influence in slowing down growth, in fact taking it negative earlier this year. So, this kind of load shedding does have economic impact but it really all depends on how long the load shedding lasts for. If load shedding is just one day then it doesn’t have much impact, but if we have a week or two of load shedding then it has a significant impact on GDP. So let’s just see how this pans out but it doesn’t look good at the moment,” Yelland explains.

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