State power utility Eskom has denied reports that it is planning to implement stage 8 load shedding.
Reports emerged on Monday suggesting that Eskom had informed municipalities to prepare for stage 8.
In a statement on Tuesday, however, the beleaguered power utility said these reports are “erroneous and incorrect.”
Stage 8 load shedding not likely
It said while it has drawn up contingency measures for severe electricity supply constraints, this does not imply that stage 8 load shedding is imminent.
Eskom added, “The likelihood of reaching stage 8 is low. When stage 6 load shedding was implemented in December, not all metros or municipalities had published their extended load shedding schedules.”
It explained that it is the Association of Municipal Electricity Utilities that had reached out to municipalities to ensure compliance with the requirement to publish extended load shedding schedules.
Eskom escalated load shedding to an unprecedented stage 6 in December and reports of stage 8 therefore caused panic among South Africans on social media.
No load shedding on Tuesday
Meanwhile, Eskom said in another statement that it was not anticipating load shedding on Tuesday.
It said unplanned breakdowns were at 11,723MW as of Tuesday morning. This is the lowest it has been in weeks. The target is 9,500MW to minimise risk of load shedding.
The power utility battled to keep the lights on over the festive season, with breakdowns persistently exceeding 12,000MW.
It had to implement load shedding earlier in January, breaking President Cyril Ramaphosa’s promise that there would be no load shedding before 13 December.
This led Deputy President David Mabuza to claim last week that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and the Eskom board had misled Ramaphosa.
Eskom board chairperson Jabu Mabuza subsequently resigned on Friday. Labour federation Cosatu and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have also called on Gordhan to resign or Ramaphosa to take action against him.