The power supplier has no idea how to manipulate its customers: peak pricing is what's needed.
It was "too risky a commitment to make" to say there would be no load shedding in the coming months, says Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane.
With Eskom's rolling blackouts highly likely this winter, consumers have no choice but to switch off.
A massive power failure has hit India for the second day running as three regional power grids collapsed, blacking out more than half the country.
Eskom says South Africans have to reduce their electricity use by a tenth, so it can take power stations offline for dangerously overdue maintenance.
Eskom has warned of a very high risk of rolling blackouts around SA, but says it has been doing everything it can to avert the "load-shedding".
Eskom has paid executive committee members 109% more in 2011 than last year, according to its financial statements for the year ended March 31.
Eskom -- which is struggling to keep the lights on -- has been interrupting supplies to BHP Billiton's smelters to help manage its tight supplies.
Eskom said using electricity could stave off the re-introduction of load shedding as cold winds and snow dragged temperatures down to single digits.
SA may face fresh power cuts early in 2009 because the level of voluntary energy savings has fallen below the required 10%.
Cosatu said admissions made at a conference on the mining industry's response to the power crisis have "totally vindicated" its mass-action campaign.
State-owned power utility Eskom said on Thursday it was confident South Africa could get through the winter months without power cuts.
The National Energy Regulator of South Africa's (Nersa) decision to grant Eskom a 27,5% tariff increase was a "watershed" moment, the utility said.