After power utility Eskom said on Thursday that although the electricity system remained constrained and vulnerable, and load shedding was not expected, it gave South Africa a two-hour warning this evening that stage 2 load shedding would be implemented from 10pm until 5am.
This was because on Thursday it lost three additional generation units and had to use its emergency reserves in order to meet demand throughout the day.
The emergency demands, therefore, became critically low.
On Wednesday Eskom warned that the power system continued to remain "severely constrained and vulnerable" and that the possibility of loadshedding remained.
In a statement, Eskom said they had lost three additional generation units and used up emergency reserves that needed overnight replenishment.
Load shedding was definitely on the cards for the rest of Friday too.
In a statement, the entity had earlier said the electricity was still “under severe pressure with more than 10,500MW unavailable due to planned and unplanned breakdowns at coal-fired power generating stations”.
Eskom said its emergency response command centre would continue to monitor the system and with implementing contingencies to avoid and/or minimise load shedding for the week.
“We remind customers that any unexpected shift, such as additional unplanned breakdowns or the unavailability of diesel for our open cycle gas turbines or water levels at our pumped storage schemes could result in load shedding at short notice.”
The entity appealed to customers to continue using electricity sparingly.
South Africans endured darkness last month when the power utility implemented load shedding for about a week due to capacity shortages.
A debilitating round of power cuts in February and March dented first-quarter economic output and reminded investors of the uphill struggle President Cyril Ramaphosa faces to revive Africa’s most industrialised economy.
Eskom produces more than 90% of the power in South Africa but has been hobbled by technical faults at its fleet of coal-fired power stations as well as a financial crisis that has severely hurt its liquidity position.
The government plans to split Eskom into three units for generation, transmission and distribution to make it more efficient. It is also giving Eskom bailouts to keep it afloat.
This effectively means South Africa has joined its neighbouring country, Zimbabwe, in implementing stage 2 load shedding.
Zimbabwe’s power utility warned of increased power cuts on Sunday after it lost 251 mega watts from its Hwange power station.
"Three generator units tripped at Hwange power station this morning," Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Distribution Co. said on its Twitter account. "Load shedding has now increased significantly and we are now implementing stage 2" power cuts outside the normal schedule.
Blackouts in Zimbabwe already last as much as 18 hours a day and the country spends $23 million monthly on power imports, according to the energy regulator.