Eskom says its technicians are working around the clock to restore capacity to the national grid, following a number of unplanned breakdowns at its substations due to poor infrastructure maintenance.

The power utility says the aim is to minimise the impact on the national grid and give matriculates enough time to get home safely.

Eskom announced Stage 2 load shedding to be implemented from 1am-6am on Wednesday.

The cash-strapped utility said cutting up to 2 000 megawatts (MW) of power from the national grid overnight would help it to replenish emergency reserves to meet electricity demand during daylight hours on Wednesday.

Eskom said in a statement that 13 600 MW of its 44 000 MW total nominal capacity was offline on Tuesday because of plant breakdowns.

It last implemented power cuts on Sunday.

Eskom generates more than 90% of the electricity in Africa’s most industrialised economy, but its unreliable performance is a major impediment to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s efforts to revive economic growth.

Eskom’s new chief executive Andre de Ruyter started work on Monday and will oversee a government plan to split the company into separate units for generation, transmission, and distribution to improve its performance. -Additional reporting by Reuters