Due to unplanned outages, Eskom said it had lost 9,500MW of electricity, forcing it to implement widespread power cuts. It also warned that any unexpected changes could lead to a change in the load shedding stage at short notice.

“The electricity supply system remains very constrained and vulnerable due to a shortage of generation capacity as several units are currently out of service due to planned and unplanned outages,” said the utility.

Eskom said the 9,500 MW it lost was in addition to the 5,000MW the utility had taken out for scheduled maintenance. This means that the utility is currently without about a third of its installed capacity of 42,000MW. However, the utility’s normal capacity is around 32,000 MW due to maintenance on some of its power plants.

Eskom assured customers that load shedding is implemented as a necessary measure to protect the power system. All customers are urged to reduce the load on the electricity grid by urgently switching off geysers, air conditioners, pool pumps and all non-essential appliances throughout the day, which will reduce electricity demand.

“We would like to thank all customers who continue to use electricity sparingly. Every little bit of saving counts as it reduces the severity of load shedding.”