Eskom appealed to consumers on Monday to use electricity sparingly as colder weather is expected to increase the risk of load-shedding during the week.
“With colder weather expected across the country and the demand of electricity projected to increase, the power system is forecast to be tight for this week,” said the power utility.
“The winter plan indicates a higher demand, with three days being extremely tight, with a high risk of load-shedding.
“South Africans can make a huge difference by rallying towards the common cause of using electricity efficiently, having the collective potential of reducing demand by up to 500MW and saving the equivalent of one unit at a power station.”
Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan said at an electricity briefing last week that if all went according to plan, there would either be no load-shedding – or stage 1 “at the most” – provided that Eskom’s turnaround plan was implemented “110%”.
Consumers endured days of stage 4 load-shedding in March.
Group chief executive of Eskom, Phakamani Hadebe, said on Monday: “We have an extensive winter plan and review of our power system, and have identified the problems. While the plan gives us confidence that we may go through winter with no or limited load-shedding, we are mindful of the potential of risks on a very tight power system which may result in shifts on the power system and which could result in load-shedding.
“We have mapped out scenarios that show that we will implement load-shedding in cases where unplanned breakdowns increase to more than 9,500MW, delays in returning units from planned maintenance or in cases of unanticipated disruptive events.”
Hadebe said the first few days of April had given “reassurance of the integrity of our plan as we managed to avoid load-shedding on three days where it was forecast due to good performance of our plant”.
“We managed to go through periods of high demand in the evening peak without using a lot of diesel,” he added.
Eskom expects to gain additional power over the next two months from generation units that have been out for planned maintenance.