Power utility, Eskom expects to return to service nine generation units during the weekend.
It says the low weekend demand will assist in replenishing emergency reserves and enable it to further suspend loadshedding.
The utility implemented Stage Four loadshedding this week.
This was after its Majuba Unit 5 and Tutuka Unit 4 tripped.
It said the cold weather and persistent rain saw increased demand and disruptions to its planned maintenance schedule.
Eskom this week reported that it had lost 16 000 megawatts of electricity supply — unavailable due to planned maintenance.
The power utility announced Stage Four loadshedding, affecting businesses and the public at large.
SA has seen a total of 65 days of loadshedding for the current financial year.
Phillip Dukashe is the Group Executive for Generation at Eskom: “We had communicated last week the number of units that were at risk, they were around 10 000. We needed to take some units off in order to work on them. But, on a consistent basis, the demand was much higher than what the forecast was, and as a result we’re not able to some of those units out for maintenance.”
Eskom CEO, Andre De Ruyter said Eskom had also not yet received an overdue payment of R7 billion, owed by municipalities for the current financial year: “The R47 billion that we are owed by delinquent municipalities would be immensely useful in relieving some of the liquidity constraints that we currently face. Just over the past year, we have not been paid an estimate R7.2 million from these municipalities, which would have been very helpful in allowing us to carry out our planned maintenance, without having to delay owing to liquidity constraints.”
Meanwhile, economists have warned that government policy does not seem to be give confidence regarding the electricity crisis, currently facing the country.
Economist Iraj Abedien says: “If we knew that there is a rapid response, a well considered response then at least there will be some element of mitigation and that is not in place because businesses have to over provide and that means the cost become more than what it should be.”
Abedien says the economy requires predictability and certainty so that businesses can operate — something Eskom is failing to guarantee: “First and foremost the fact that it’s now going on year 14 is that the government has shown an inability to solve the problem is a major concern. It undermines the citizen confidence, it undermines the credibility of government, their competence. It’s very difficult to plan businesses and run or know when and how it’s going to happen.”