Electricity company Eskom said it was implementing Stage 2 load-shedding until 11 pm on Wednesday as capacity remained constrained, albeit at a lesser level than earlier in the week, adding that the probability for further rolling blackouts remained high for the rest of the week.
"Load-shedding has been reduced to Stage 2 as we have made good progress in the system recovery largely as a result of several units being returned to service and the recovery from localised flooding at our power stations," said the State-owned utility, which implemented Stage 4 rotational power cuts on Tuesday, involving the suppression of up to 4 000 MW of demand at any given time to avoid collapsing the grid.
Eskom said it continued to use diesel for its open cycle gas turbines and water at pumped storage schemes to supplement capacity, adding: "As the generating plant continues to perform at low levels of reliability, any unexpected shift such as an increase in unplanned breakdowns could result in a change in the load-shedding stage at short notice."
It said its focus was to reduce unplanned breakdowns to below 9 500 MW to minimise and stop load-shedding next week.
On Tuesday night, the power utility said it had made good progress in recovering from localised flooding at some power stations and had returned several units as scheduled.
On Wednesday it reiterated its call for consumers to reduce power demand to help lessen or avoid load-shedding.
"As we are experiencing rainy and cooler weather conditions in some parts of the country, we ask that you use efficient heating to keep warm and switch off your geysers over peak periods," it said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa's office said on Tuesday he was cutting short his visit to Egypt to attend to the electricity crisis and also visit communities ravaged by flooding after heavy rains in Gauteng province.
Ramaphosa's spokesperson Khusela Diko said he would meet with the board and management of Eskom on Wednesday to be briefed on plans to mitigate and resolve the power crunch.
Eskom was forced to apologise after abruptly implementing Stage 6 load-shedding on Monday, an unprecedented move it said had been necessitated by a high rate of generating unit breakdowns.