SA may have up to 101 days of blackouts this winter - Eskom

The utility revealed this at a briefing on Tuesday after the country was moved from stage two rolling blackouts to stage four.

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JOHANNESBURG - South Africans could be in for more than three months of power cuts this winter depending on Eskom's generation unit losses.

The utility revealed this at a briefing on Tuesday after the country was moved from stage two rolling blackouts to stage four.

READ: How to check your load shedding schedule

Eskom has blamed the cold and rainy weather for its generation capacity failure.

Colder weather usually comes with an increase in demand as South Africans try to keep warm.

But if generation units are lost for whatever reason, it becomes harder for Eskom to keep the lights on.

Eskom's head of transmission, Segomotso Scheepers, said that they planned on keeping unplanned unit losses at a minimum.

"If we are able to contain the unplanned below 12,500 megawatts, we should not have any load shedding," Scheepers said.

He said that the country may have up to 101 days of blackouts this winter.

"Obviously, today we are struggling to achieve the lower level of unplanned that we desire and it progressively increases to 37 days for winter and in the extreme, it could be as high as 101 days but that is clearly very far in the extreme," he said.

For this week, however, Eskom said that it would reassess power cuts between Thursday and Friday and provide an update.