Stage two loadshedding throughout Thursday and into Friday

South Africans will suffer stage two loadshedding starting from 08:00 on Thursday morning, right through to Friday morning at 06:00.

The system remains severely constrained and unpredictable, the utility said in a statement.

Guide: Find your load shedding schedule

Eskom lost additional generation capacity overnight with breakdowns of over 14,000MW. Emergency reserves are also insufficient to meet the demand for electricity during the day. 

Anything above 9 500MW means that Eskom has to resort to emergency power generation: open cycle gas turbines and pumped storage hydro electrical plants. These are very expensive ways of generating power, particularly gas turbines as they require large quantities of diesel. They can only be used for short periods before diesel and water reserves run out.

"As a result we have to loadshed throughout the day until tomorrow. We will give South Africans regular updates about our prognosis for tomorrow and our recovery efforts for the rest of the week leading into the weekend," Eskm said in a statement.

Eskom has not managed to keep unplanned breakdowns at below 9,500MW - the level at which it is forced to consider loadshedding - for a single day since December 4, 2019.

 Unexpected bouts of loadshedding in January - a time of low electricity demand - was triggered by the failure of a conveyor belt feeding coal from Exxaro’s Grootegeluk mine to the Medupi power station in Lephalale, Limpopo.

The 7km-long coal conveyor belt is supposed to transport 4,000 tons of coal per hour to Medupi. The belt first started giving problems in October, when the tail-end of the belt suddenly snapped and twisted, with the weight of the coal damaging the machine.