Eskom says that its systems are under severe strain, and that any further deterioration to its generating units will force the power utility to implement load shedding once again.
The group has been hit by generating unit trips over the last few days, where at one stage eight units were offline simultaneously.
Six units have since been returned to service, it said, but four units then broke down overnight, and in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
There has also been a delay in returning other units to power, it said.
“Any further deterioration in the generating performance may necessitate the implementation of load shedding at short notice,” it said.
“As the aged infrastructure is unreliable and volatile, this constrained power system is expected to persist for the rest of the week, particularly as the cold front hits.”
Breakdowns currently stand at 11,900MW of capacity, adding to 4,350MW currently offline for planned maintenance.
For context, Eskom has previously noted that unplanned breakdowns need to be below 9,500MW to avoid load shedding.
The power utility has managed to keep the national grid in check by implementing ‘load reduction’ – taking targeted areas offline, where the system is being overloaded by illegal connections in high density areas.
“We urge the people of South Africa to help reduce electricity usage in order to assist Eskom to keep the lights on,” it said.