State power company Eskom will escalate load shedding from Stage 2 to Stage 4 from 9am on Wednesday (March 9).
This comes as the embattled utility struggles with generation capacity after further failures of its generating units overnight.
“It is with a great deal of disappointment that Eskom has to inform the public that further failures overnight of generation units has necessitated the implementation of Stage 4 load shedding starting at 09h00 this [Wednesday] morning,” Eskom confirmed in a statement.
“Unfortunately, this has to continue until 05h00 on Friday. Thereafter load shedding will be lowered to Stage 2 until 05h00 on Monday morning.”
“Eskom would like to apologise for the implementation of load shedding, and will continuously review the situation and act appropriately as circumstances change,” it added.
The utility noted that overnight a unit each at Kendal, Duvha, Camden and Kusile power stations tripped.
“Since then, we have returned four units to service. However, these units still need to ramp up to full output, which necessitates a high usage of emergency generation reserves today [Wednesday],” it explained.
High diesel usage
“This being the fourth day of extremely high diesel usage, the emergency reserves are being depleted faster than can be replenished. Stage 4 load shedding will therefore give us the space required to replenish the emergency reserves and continue to manage the system safely,” it said.
Eskom pointed out that total breakdowns amount to 15 439MW, while planned maintenance is 5 505MW of capacity.
It appealed to South Africans to help it limit the impact of load shedding by reducing the usage of electricity and to switch off all non-essential items.