POWER utility Eskom on Wednesday evening confirmed that load-shedding would be suspended from 05:00 on Thursday morning, but warned that there were still significant risks to some generating units, which could force Eskom to implement load-shedding at short notice should it lose further generation capacity.
“We have used the past six days of load-shedding to conduct some repairs to generating units and to continue with the maintenance programme,” said Eskom in a statement on Wednesday.
“While Eskom teams have returned some generation units to service since Friday, helping to reduce the pressure on the system, we have unfortunately suffered further breakdowns during the period.”
“Although we have recovered some emergency generation reserve capacity to support the system, the recovery in generation capacity has not been sufficient to alleviate the system constraints.”
Eskom urged the public to continue using electricity sparingly to minimise the possibility of further load-shedding.
The latest bout of scheduled power cuts comes at a time when the country’s economy is struggling to recover from Covid-19 pandemic shocks and supply chain disruption, expected to cause a lacklustre performance in the third quarter of 2021.
The government is currently trying to mitigate Eskom’s supply shortages by allowing self-generation and procuring additional renewable energy from independent power producers on an emergency basis.
South Africa’s economy is estimated to lose at least R500 million per stage of scheduled power cuts per day.
The SA Reserve Bank last week said the latest projections suggested the economy will contract by 1.2 percent in the third quarter, with growth averaging 5.3 percent in 2021.
Investment in the economy has remained weak this year as electricity supply was constrained even with low demand.
Data from Statistics SA last week showed electricity generation lost momentum in August, growing only by 2 percent from a year ago, following growth of 3.4 percent in July, and 3.2 percent in June.
On a month-on-month basis, however, electricity production contracted by 0.2 percent, after growth of 0.7 percent in the month prior, indicating slowing momentum after starting the third quarter on a strong footing.