While South Africa has seen an improvement in energy availability over the past few weeks, Eskom said stage 8 is still possible this winter, though less likely.
Experts have warned that South Africa could face a dark winter for months, as cold weather tends to increase household electricity demand.
However, the country has experienced less load-shedding in winter compared to the first few months of the year.
Eskom attributed it to, among other conditions, lower demand, improved generation capacity, increased OCGT diesel deliveries, and warmer-than-usual weather.
While these factors have seen the country experience less load-shedding and almost no daytime power cuts, some of these conditions have changed.
Eskom has intermittently implemented higher stages of load-shedding over the past week and announced higher stages for this week on Monday morning.
The increased load-shedding was needed because of prolonged high demand and the failure of some generator units. The country is also experiencing colder weather, forecasted to last the entire week.
Eskom told Daily Investor that cold weather drives up electricity demand. However, it said, “The cold weather was forecasted, and the planning to meet the demand was in place.”
“This morning [Monday, 10 July], the electricity demand did exceed the expected demand. System Operator is obliged to carry generation reserves to cater for unforeseen events. This morning we utilised these reserves to meet the higher-than-anticipated demand.”
Eskom added that the high demand for electricity for the rest of winter will largely be determined by how cold weather sets in across the country in the coming weeks and the generation capacity available when that occurs.
“While less likely, given the current performance of the Eskom generation fleet, stage 8 load-shedding is still a possibility this winter,” the utility said.
“During the warmer period, Stage 3 to 4 load-shedding is to be expected, while colder periods may increase this. Should a cold spell coincide with multiple generator breakdowns, high stages of load-shedding may be necessary for a short duration.”