SOUTH AFRICAN POWER UTILITY ESKOM BEGINS LOAD SHEDDING AS WORKERS STRIKE

JOHANNESBURG, South African power utility Eskom has started with the first stage of its load shedding, after its workers decided to embark on industrial action following a deadlock in talks over wage increasest.

In A statement issued here Friday, the State-owned utility said: Eskom commenced with stage 1 load shedding at 11:29am today. We anticipate that this will continue until 9 pm tonight. This is due to the impact of the current illegal protest action by some Eskom employees at various sites over wage increases.

Eskom added that while it was working with all relevant stakeholders to keep its plants operating optimally, there was a high risk of load shedding over the weekend. Eskom calls on all consumers to assist by reducing their electricity consumption by switching off geysers, electric heating, pool pumps and all non-essential appliances throughout the day, said the company.

Earlier, Eskom said the power system was reasonably stable following a night of load shedding. Stage 1 load shedding allows for up to 1 000MW to be shed off the grid.

Industrial action at Eskom plants began on Thursday, following Eskom's announcement earlier in the week that there would be no wage increment. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) on Tuesday rejected the utility's wage offer. Unions, which are demanding a 15 per cent wage increase, staged pickets in response to theEskom decision

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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