Power cuts spread

Vusi Ndlovu, Riot Hlatshwayo and Sne Masuku

Vusi Ndlovu, Riot Hlatshwayo and Sne Masuku

Large parts of the country including Johannesburg, Durban and Nelspruit experienced hours of electricity cuts as Eskom continued with its load-shedding yesterday.

The national electricity supplier yesterday warned of more blackouts as they found it difficult to cope with high demand for electricity. The demand for power has been triggered by economic growth in the past 10 years.

Eskom's spokesman Sipho Neke said they were building new power stations which would take up to seven years until the process was normalised.

He said some old stations which were no longer in use were now operational.

These include Ankerling and Gourikwa power stations in Cape Town, which were launched in October; Medupi power in Limpopo, which is expected to be operational between 2011 and 2015; and Camden power station in Mpumalanga, which is expected to start operating this year.

Neke said: "Eskom has accelerated the implementation of its capacity expansion programme and will invest R150billion over the next five years in the upgrading of South Africa's power supply infrastructure.

"The biggest percentage of the expenditure will go to improving generation capacity including building new power stations."

Parts of the country were at the weekend affected by load- shedding because four generators tripped on Friday.

Neke admitted that power cuts were normally not expected during this time of the year because the demand for electricity was not as high as it was in winter.

He said electricity consumers had responded well to the calls to minimise electrical use.