Eskom will escalate load shedding from Stage 2 to Stage 4 on Wednesday as it struggles with generation capacity in the face of several power station units remaining offline and amid a spike in demand as a result of the winter cold snap.
“Due to additional breakdowns of a unit at Medupi and two units at Duvha Power Station, together with the high winter demand, Eskom regrets to inform the public that Stage 4 load shedding will be implemented from 14h00 this afternoon until 22h00 tonight,” it said in an update issued after midday.
Earlier on Wednesday morning, the power utility announced that Stage 2 load shedding will continue until Sunday night due to delays in delays in returning generation units to service at Kusile, Tutuka, Duvha, Kendal and Koeberg Power Stations.
However, the additional breakdowns at Mudupi and Duvha, will see Stage 4 hitting South Africa today.
Eskom said the move to Stage 4 “is in order to ration the remaining emergency generation reserves, which have been depleted”.
“These emergency reserves are required to respond to further emergencies in order to maintain the stability of the national grid,” it added.
Read: Eskom escalates Stage 2 load shedding to business hours (2 June)
According to Eskom, breakdowns currently total 15 087MW of capacity, while planned maintenance is at 1 273MW of capacity.
“These capacity constraints will continue for the foreseeable future and all South Africans are urged to reduce their use of electricity, particularly between 17h00 and 22h00, when the winter demand is the highest,” it said.
Eskom apologised for the inconvenience and uncertainty caused by the interruptions in electricity supply.