Eskom has moved the country back to stage 2 load shedding, citing “loss of generation capacity” at four power stations – a day after it announced a move to stage 1.

“Eskom regrets to inform the public that due to further loss of generation capacity, load shedding will increase to stage 2 from 9pm tonight and will continue until 5am on Saturday,” the power utility said.

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“This escalation in the stage of load shedding is required to safeguard the power system after a further loss of generating capacity at the Medupi, Arnot, Duvha and Kendal power stations.”

In addition to the loss of generation capacity, Eskom also cited an increase in demand, saying it had “put a further strain on the emergency generation reserves” on Wednesday.

“The contributing factors for the losses are boiler tube leaks and units tripping, as well as the delay in the return to service of a single unit at the Kendal power station.

“Higher than anticipated demand today has also contributed to the extensive use of emergency generation resources. Eskom is working hard to return the units back to service as soon as possible.

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“We currently have 6052MW on planned maintenance, while another 12,690MW of capacity is unavailable due to breakdowns and delays. This has led to our inability to supply the full demand,” the power utility said.

On Tuesday, Eskom announced that load shedding would be downgraded to stage 1 from Wednesday 5am, and would continue until 5am on Saturday.

The country had been on stage 2 load shedding since last Wednesday, with an update this past Sunday saying stage 2 load shedding would continue until 5am on Wednesday, 17 March.

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