While Eskom has announced an increased risk of stage one rotational load shedding, cable theft from railway infrastructure means coal has to be transported by road to Majuba power station in Mpumalanga.
A video on social media showed scores of trucks carrying coal lined up along the road leading to the power station.
According to Eskom deputy spokesperson Dikatso Mothae, the coal truck back-up at Majuba was a multidimensional problem which had caused a major traffic jam on the road.
There were more than 100 trucks on the road yesterday on the way to Majuba, causing traffic delays.
“There was also a cable theft/ signaling fault on the rail line that is operated by Transnet so coal that was meant to be transported via rail therefore had to be trucked to Majuba,” said Motheo.
The problem was compounded because the utility had increased coal purchases.
Motheo said: “There is the fact that we are buying more coal in order to increase our stockpile.
“The other issue was that one of the four weighbridges at Majuba was faulty, adding to the bottlenecks on the road.”
Motheo couldn’t provide details of the cost of using trucks to ferry their coal.
A statement issued by Eskom yesterday said the risk of load shedding would remain until the end of the weekend.
“Eskom regrets that there is an increased risk of stage one rotational load shedding from 2pm until 10pm today (yesterday) as a result of a shortage of generating capacity. The load shedding risk remains high for today and tomorrow, and will continue over the weekend.
“There is a need to replenish emergency reserves (water and diesel) to limit the possibility and magnitude of load shedding the following week.
“While the risk remains high, load shedding will only be implemented if it is absolutely necessary.”
The power utility said customers were advised to keep checking load shedding schedules on the Eskom website and their municipality’s website and plan on the assumption that load shedding would take place.
“In the event that load shedding becomes necessary, Eskom and the municipalities will use the published rotational load shedding schedules.”