/ 4 September 2023

Stage six load-shedding as generation units unexpectedly fail

Blackouts Cripple South Africa Again
Slow-moving vehicles line the streets as traffic lights stand without power during a load-shedding power outage period in Pretoria. (Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Eskom will implement stage six load-shedding from Tuesday morning at 5am. The utility issued a statement saying that stage six will take place until further notice. Eskom attributed the high-stage power cuts to planned maintenance and the loss of generation units. 

“With the increase in generation planned maintenance, as previously communicated, and the loss of a further two generation units today, stage six load-shedding will be implemented from 5am on Tuesday until further notice. Overnight, a further two units at Lethabo and Matla power stations will need to be shut down for urgent repairs.”

Breakdowns caused a loss of around 16 000 megawatts and the planned maintenance was close to 6 000MW, according to the utility’s statement. 

“Since yesterday, generating units at Kriel and Medupi power stations were taken offline for repairs. In the same period, generating units at Arnot, Kendal, Kriel and Lethabo power stations were returned to service.”

Delays at Hendrina and Tutuka added to the power struggles Eskom is facing.

Eskom urged citizens to switch off geysers and pool pumps during peak hours. 


The power cuts come off the back of electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa’s comments during the energy update at the weekend.

“Possibly higher stages of load-shedding should be expected as Eskom takes more units offline for maintenance,” he said.

Ramokgopa said performing upkeep now would ensure the country does not end up in the same situation that led to many plant breakdowns and increased outages.

Ramokgopa added that ongoing maintenance had ensured that there had been a decrease in units tripping on their own.

“We are ramping up planned maintenance so that when these units come back [online], they come back healthy and they are able to give us a significant amount of hours and also perform at their designed capacity. As a result of this action, we should be able to meet the peak focus.

“We will make sure that we do not go to alarming stages of load-shedding,” he said.

Recently, Eskom chairperson Mpho Makwana and acting chief executive Calib Cassim expressed optimism that load-shedding was on the decline and that they were hopeful of a festive season with no load-shedding.

They believed that power stations were performing better and offline stations like Kusile were making progress at coming online ahead of schedule.