After days of implementing Stage 1 to Stage 4 power cuts, State-owned Eskom on Monday evening implemented unprecedented Stage 6 power cuts after the heavy rainfall in some areas of the country exacerbated the already constrained power supply situation.
Eskom explained in a statement that the Stage 6 load-shedding was declared as a result of failed units at the Medupi power station, flooding at the Kriel mine and flooding at the Camden power station.
The power utility late on Monday scaled back to Stage 4 load-shedding and, on Tuesday, said that at 05:43 breakdowns were at 15 200 MW. It was working to reduce unplanned breakdowns to below 9 500 MW and to stop load-shedding by next week.
It pointed out that the probability for load-shedding remained high for the remainder of this week.
The power cuts have resulted in a number of mining companies, including diamond miner Petra Diamonds and gold miner Harmony Gold, halting operations following requests by Eskom and over safety concerns for mine employees working underground.
In light of the ongoing electricity supply constraints, which is unlikely to be resolved soon, the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association on Monday called for government to enable a greater contribution from small-scale embedded generation.