South Africans were left powerless yesterday as parastatel Eskom had to roll out emergency load shedding.

Eskom’s Majuba coal-fired plant in Mpumalanga suffered damage to one of its silos which cracked and collapsed yesterday afternoon. Holding 10 000 tonnes of coal resources, output was immediately reduced to 1 800MW and was running at 600MW.

Chief Executive, Tshediso Matona issued a media release today where she said that yesterday the ‘output was immediately reduced from 3 600MW to 1 800Mmajuba 1W and was running at 600MW’.

He added that ‘the first priority was to protect the power grid and look at the impact of power supply to the country’.

This incident follows two power alerts which were issued to the public mid last week.

Eskom urged large power users to reduce their usage by 10 percent as the plant was under ‘severe constrain’ due to technical problems.

With fans across the country unable to watch the Manchester Derby, consumers must prepare for a potential week of blackouts should any interruptions occur with the recovery operations.

Andrew Etzinger Eskom spokesman told local eNCA news this morning in an interview that ‘overnight progress with restoring coal deposits into the power station were proving successful. The silo will definitely need to be rebuilt but this process will take months.’

Etzinger said that this set back comes at a cost as the transporting of coal and labour needs to be paid for. The logistical operation will get the plant back to running as soon as possible he said.

Majuba power station has restored 1 200MW, a third of its total generation since yesterday Etzinger told media.

‘Tomorrow will be restored to 2 400MW and the remainder will take a bit of time…I am confident that there will be no blackouts for today’ he said.

Load shedding schedules and a map highlighting your area can be viewed on the official Eskom website.