Cape Town – Three coal powered units tripped on Thursday night due to technical faults, adding to Eskom’s current crisis with diesel supplies and depleted water reserves.

As such, Eskom told Fin24 that the power system was extremely constrained on Friday and would remain so over the weekend, necessitating the need for Eskom to implement load shedding.

Read: Load shedding traps Helen Zille in her lift

“This is due to unforeseen technical problems at power stations, depleted water reserves and logistical issues relating to diesel supplies at our peaking power stations,” Eskom said.

As a result Eskom had to implement stage 2 load shedding today as of 11:00. At 12:05 load shedding was extended from stage 2 to stage 3.

“The change in stages is due to the shutdown of two of our open cycle gas turbine power station which use diesel to generate electricity,” Eskom said.

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“The diesel reserves have been depleted at the Gourikwa and Ankerlig gas turbines leading to the shutdown of the power stations.

“The Drakensburg and Palmiet pumped storage schemes, which use water to generate electricity have reduced output as a result of depleted water reserves.

“A further 1 000MW of capacity is offline after three coal powered units tripped last night due to technical faults.”

Eskom will be load shedding until 22:00 this evening.

Stage 2 load shedding will start on Saturday from 06:00 until 22:00 and again on Sunday from 08:00 until 22:00 in order to build up reserves for the week ahead.

ESKOMS just informed me that for the first time we are into STAGE THREE load shedding. Stages One & Two were not enough to deal with crisis.

— Helen Zille (@helenzille) December 5, 2014
Stage 3 load shedding. A better life for all, who have a generator.

— Chester Missing (@chestermissing) December 5, 2014
“Consumers can help alleviate pressure from the system by reducing their electricity usage as much as they can,” Eskom told consumers.

Eskom has also asked major customers to contribute by reducing their usage by 10%.

“Our objective for load shedding this weekend is to fill the pumped storage dams, fill diesel tanks and undertake essential maintenance. Our aspiration after that is to avoid load shedding if at all possible until mid-January,” Chief Executive Tshediso Matona said.

“Unfortunately we cannot guarantee this, but we will put in every effort over the festive season to avoid interruptions,” he said.