Hon Speaker, over the past few years Eskom has been managing a very delicate electricity supply system. We have undertaken regular communication with the people of South Africa to brief them about the state of the system, particularly the demand and supply balance. In light of the above, Eskom declared a power emergency at 6 o'clock this morning. At 8 o'clock, they indicated that rotational load shedding will be implemented. The reasons for the declaration are as follows.
Firstly, over the past week, Eskom depleted its dry coal stockpiles at some power stations due to the rainy weather conditions. This contributed to severe system constraints due to lower power output as a result of wet and poor quality coal.
Secondly, last night Eskom lost three units at Kendal Power Station in Mpumalanga and also had to reduce output at other power stations, particularly Duvha, because of a conveyor belt which is under construction following a fire in December 2013.
In addition, dam levels are low at the Drakensberg and the Palmiet Pump Storage Power Stations. These power stations act as reserves during peak times. Owing to the constraints, they were used beyond the peak times, hence the low reserves at the dams. This was exacerbated by the loss of imports via the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, the Zimbabwean electricity utility.
After all reserves were used and after a reduction by key industrial customers at 8 o'clock this morning, an additional reduction in demand of about 3 000 megawatt was needed to balance the electricity system. To make provision for the shortfall of 3 000 megawatt, Eskom emergency protocol required that all customers, including Eskom and the municipalities, reduce their demand by 20% through rotational load shedding.
It is anticipated that the emergency will continue until after the evening peak tonight, and we will continue to manage the system. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]