High risk of load shedding as pay dispute trips up Eskom

Eskom has warned of a high probability of load shedding on Tuesday as a strike continues over wages at the power utility.

The potential return to load shedding was attributed by Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe to “incidents of intimidation and blockades at some power stations”. This included supplies of coal‚ being trucked to Duvha and Majuba power stations‚ being disrupted.

“Despite not implementing rotational load shedding [on Monday]‚ the risk of load shedding remains high during [Tuesday] morning peak demand period from 5am. This is as a result of the current industrial action at Eskom power stations which has impacted operations‚” Eskom said in a statement.

Picture: GALLO IMAGES

The power utility has encouraged residents and businesses to use electricity sparingly to reduce demand on the national electricity grid.

Residents were encouraged to switch off geysers during the day‚ especially during peak times between 5am and 10am and 5pm to 10pm‚ as well as non-essential lighting and electricity appliances.

“Eskom is urgently engaging union leaders to resolve the impasse as the current industrial action has negatively impacted plant operations and several power stations. The police have been mobilised to maintain order and to enable safe access to power stations as these are National Key Points.”

BusinessLIVE reported that Eskom employees had embarked on industrial action at power stations on Monday in response to the utility’s refusal to include performance bonuses in a three-year wage offer.

A strike in June over a first wage increase offer of 0% also culminated in alleged sabotage and load-shedding. Faced with the threat of returning to load shedding‚ Eskom has revised its wage offer.

National Union of Mineworkers spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu said that protests had been peaceful.

“It’s their [Eskom’s] same lies and propaganda every time. They want sympathy from the public by tarnishing the image of our members‚” reported BusinessLIVE.

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