Load shedding to continue until 10pm

Eskom says maintenance on 3 generators means load shedding will continue until 10pm this evening.

FILE: Eskom says maintenance on three generators means load shedding will continue until 10pm this evening. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom says maintenance on three generators at its power stations means load shedding will continue until 10pm this evening.

The power utility implemented stage three power cuts over the weekend, to carry out maintenance and secure enough electricity for the entire week.

But just after 8am this morning, the generators were still not online, resulting in further cuts.

Eskom spokesman Andrew Etzinger says, at this stage, there is no risk of load shedding getting worse.

"The stage two is adequate to arrest the situation from our national control manager's point of view to reduce that stage two to stage one and then finally to stage zero one."

This spate of power cuts is the worst the country has experienced since the 2008 crisis which saw rolling blackouts implemented for months.

Earlier this morning, Eskom said the lights would be on this week, but warned that from Thursday the possibility of rolling blackouts would depend on the extent to which it managed to recover its hydro power station reserves and its diesel tanks.

Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown says load shedding will be a reality for at least another two years.

"I think if take all the power stations, all the plants off the grid and eventually maintain all of them, we probably will get it right."

Meanwhile, Eskom chief executive Tshediso Matona is today expected to issue an official update on the state of electricity supply and maintenance at its power stations.

Eskom's inability to meet demand in December, when electricity usage usually dips, underscores the precarious state of South Africa's power supply due to years of underfunding.

The utility, which supplies virtually all of South Africa's power, said last month the government's promised R20 billion rand cash injection wouldn't be enough to ease funding constraints and help it avoid a credit downgrade.

Eskom has been scrambling to build new power stations to ease razor-thin supply margins, but has been beset by a two year delay at its massive planned Medupi plant.

Click here to view Eskom's load shedding schedule.

Click here for an interactive map of the load shedding schedule in Cape Town.