Eskom said on Tuesday it was implementing stage two rolling blackouts from 4pm until 5am on Wednesday, after a generation unit at its Kusile power station in Mpumalanga tripped.
The state utility urged consumers to reduce the use of electricity because the system was “severely constrained”.
“These constraints are expected to persist for the rest of the week, which may require the load-shedding to be extended,” Eskom said in a statement. This comes after the power utility enforced rotational power cuts for several days last week, suspending them on Friday evening ahead of local government elections on Monday.
The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) is still counting votes from the 1 November election and has said power cuts would not interfere with this process.
The IEC said it expected to have counted 90% of the votes by Tuesday evening, and to release the final results on Wednesday, even with the threat of Eskom implementing blackouts.
Eskom chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer had said ahead of the municipal elections that he was confident the power utility could reduce the risk of load-shedding during the vote to a minimum.
A total 17 933 megawatts had been lost as a result of unit breakdowns, with planned maintenance representing 3 451MW of lost capacity, Eskom said on Tuesday.