About 20 areas affected a day
MBABANE – An average of 20 residential areas will experience power blackouts on a daily basis for the next seven days as part of the Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC) load-shedding programme.
The programme started on Monday and will end on May 31.
A full schedule of the load-shedding areas has since been issued by SEC. (See Page 6)
Some of the residential areas that will experience power cuts, particularly tonight, include Gege in Nhlangano, Ebuka in Ezulwini, Siphocosini, Hilltop in Mbabane and Zakhele, Sigombeni, Sidzakeni and different parts of Manzini.
SEC Corporate Communications Manager, Sifiso Dhlamini, said the blackouts would occur on a rotational basis between 7pm and 9pm.
He said they would be experienced twice in the seven days of the programme remaining.
"This means that if an area had a blackout on Monday, the next one will be on Thursday the same week. There are two days in between. Blackouts will not be less than one hour or not exceeding two hours," explained Dhlamini.
He conceded that the load-shedding programme did not have specific blackout times per residential area, but if it occurred at 7pm to 8pm the first time, then it will be from 8pm to 9pm the second time.
Load-shedding is cutting off the electric current on certain lines when the demand becomes greater than the supply. Full load-shedding means that the availability of power will be rotated among various areas of the kingdom.
With this approach, electricity may be made available in certain areas for a certain number of hours, while others would remain in darkness.
After the designated hours elapse, the areas that had no power would be lit up, while those previously lit, would experience a blackout. SEC has had to load-shed after an urgent request was made by Eskom, South Africa’s power utility company that electricity exported to the kingdom should be reduced by 20 megawatts. The kingdom imports over 80 per cent of electricity from Eskom.
The need for Eskom to lessen power supply to Swaziland arose due to the ongoing maintenance of the Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant in Cape Town, which generates 900 megawatts.
The shortage of power in Cape Town necessitated Eskom to transmit it from Mpumalanga, where it has a larger concentration of thermal power generation stations.
This, therefore, put pressure on Eskom as it battled to satisfy demand within South Africa.
Dhlamini highlighted that the load-shedding programme would run until next Thursday, but as to what would happen after that, would depend on information they receive from Eskom. He said the situation was out of SEC’s control.
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