Eskom chief executive Andre De Ruyter says South Africa faces a bleak energy outlook, with load shedding expected to continue for much of the week.

In a media briefing on Tuesday morning (19 April), De Ruyter said the power utility has total unplanned outages of 15,672MW – which is ‘unacceptably high’ and has led to the implementation of stage 4 load shedding.

He added that a significant shortfall is expected on Tuesday evening, which leaves Eskom with no alternative but to shed about 4,000MW of demand to prevent total collapse.

De Ruyter warned that load shedding is necessary to prevent a total collapse, and that a complete grid collapse would take a week or longer to restore and have a substantial impact on the economy.

He added that Eskom did not have ‘as good an Easter weekend as we would have liked’, with heavy rains contributing to more wet coal leading to blockages and the power utility unable to bring back online, as many units as it had originally planned.

Philip Dukashe group executive for generation said that the power utility will reassess whether to suspend load shedding by Thursday evening, or Friday morning.

The best-case scenario is that load shedding will be suspended sometime on Friday, however, Dukashe warned that outages might need to continue into the weekend as Eskom replenishes its reserves. He added that stage 6 load shedding is unlikely to occur this week.

Schedules 

Eskom announced on Monday that stage 4 load shedding will be implemented due to further breakdowns at Majuba Unit 5 and Tutuka Unit 4.

For access to Nellmapius load shedding schedules, visit the load shedding page.