Eskom says many residential areas in Gauteng are experiencing power cuts due to extreme network overloading and illegal connections as temperatures plummet.

Areas that have been affected include Cosmo City, Diepsloot, Ivory Park, Orange Farm, Sebokeng and Soweto.

Eskom Gauteng Spokesperson Reneiloe Semenya has also named vandalism of infrastructure as one of the reasons for the power cuts.

“Unfortunately this upward trend is attributed to an exponential overload of the network caused by illegal connections, meter by-passes, vandalism of the infrastructure. We would like to appeal to the members of the public to please unplug or switch off non-essential equipment because if all do that we will be in a position to meet the high peak demand.”

Eskom has urged South Africans to comply with its plea to reduce demand, as parts of the country battle a cold front, for the power utility to avoid having to implement load shedding.

Spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha says the national grid is under severe strain and has urged citizens to switch off unnecessary lights.

“Switch off unnecessary lights; that means the lights where in the rooms that are not occupied and switch off all unnecessary heaters and your electric blankets. Please switch them off until you actually need them when you go to bed. We are doing all of this in order to make sure that we continue without having to implement load shedding. Work with us in reducing demand particularly during the coldest hours.”

There have been protests in some areas where Eskom has cut or restricted power to communities that have not been paying for electricity.

In the video below, a discussion on the impact of working from home on the power grid: