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'SA is not close to a power blackout'

Minister Lynne Brown has held a briefing on the state of the country’s electricity grid.

Power lines leaving Eskom’s Duvha power station, 15km east of Witbank. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown says Eskom's implementation of stage three load shedding yesterday is not an indication South Africa is close to a blackout.

Brown this afternoon held a briefing on the state of the country's electricity grid.

Eskom is under pressure to keep the lights on while several of its generating units are out of service due to planned and unplanned outages.

Brown says yesterday's load shedding was necessary because additional units had to be taken out of service for unplanned maintenance, because of technical faults.

Brown says South Africans can expect stage two load shedding until 10 pm today.

"It is expected that the situation could continue throughout winter, when consumption of course is higher, as the constraints on the grid means planned, controlled and rotational load shedding and load curtailment are introduced to protect the power system. We are having load shedding because our plants are aging. We haven't had new generation. Medupi is taking longer than what it is supposed to; Kusile is taking long."

She says while she understands the consequences of power cuts on business and productivity, in general, she wants to assure the public that government and Eskom are working tirelessly to ensure there is an adequate electricity supply.

Brown says "balancing the grid" will help Eskom avoid a situation where it's forced to implement stage four load shedding.

Today's load shedding was escalated from stage 2 to stage 3; meaning it has to shed about 4,000 megawatts to stabilise the grid.